Johnnie Arrives in 6 Days
Hurry Book Now
for good seats
presents in person
“The sensation of last year’s Frankie Lane Show.”
Sisters- “The Dancing Darlings.”
“You have to see him to believe him.”
“Songs in the modern manner.”
Book now at
Music Masters, Palings, Morrows (the Valley)
The Big Show,
Welcomed Cry Crooner
More than 5000 people swarmed into Eagle Farm Airport yesterday afternoon to shout a “Hi Johnnie” welcome to American cry and coma crooner Johnnie Ray.
Ray fans smashed airport building windows and scrambled
on to the “igloo” roofs to catch a glimpse of the singer when
he stepped from the plane and was swept into the airport
reception room. When crowds broke barriers and threatened to
surge on to the tarmac, police cordons struck out with canes
and drove them back with heavy shouldering.
Among the uproar Ray was “sandwiched” by two policemen
and almost carried upright to the shelter of the airport
In the buffet the shaken crooner nervously smoked a
cigarette and touched his hearing aid while he sat at one of
the tables regaining his breath and composure.
“This sure is a mighty demonstration. It’s so mighty of
my fans to come out in the wet to meet me. I’m not worried
about myself, but I hope none of them get hurt,” Ray said.
Just as he spoke a youth outside shoved his head
through the glass window of the buffet. Glass shattered
everywhere but the youth escaped injury.
As Ray’s car was leaving the airport, milling fans were
trapped but not hurt between the car and a stationary vehicle
which nearly overturned in the crush. Brisbane’s teenagers
turned out in their thousands in driving rain to see the
“I’ve seen him three times. Three Times!” one little
widgie squealed excitedly. “It’s wonderful!”
Ray, dressed in casual unspectacular sportswear, spoke
in a soft hesitant voice to the crowd over the airport
“It sure is wonderful of you to come and meet me in the
rain. It’s overwhelming and I thank you from the bottom of my
some Ray fans is ‘dangerous’
What is the cause of that phenomenon- the Brisbane teenager suddenly half hysterical and running berserk in public after sob-crooner Johnnie Ray?
It happened again this week at Brisbane Airport where
Ray was nearly smothered by the enthusiasm of thousands of his
So, scratching our head savagely, and muttering, we
went away to put the “Why” of Johnnie Ray to four people: The
Courier Mail’s Medical Mother, a church youth department
director, a psychologist, and an intelligent teenager of 17.
Medical Mother said: “The teenagers are looking for a
hero to whom they can devote themselves. Johnnie Ray, to them,
probably personifies romance- a subject they like to talk and
Medical Mother said that the uncontrolled emotion of
many Ray fans was dangerous. It was a sign of instability. She
said that teenagers needed some great national idea,
personified in an attractive leader, to which they could
devote their enthusiasm.
“Teenagers need to be kept busy with sport, education,
and other healthy interests,” Medical Mother said.
Mr. N. F. Nelson, Director of Youth of the Presbyterian
Church, said: “Many young people today feel that, with the
world so chaotic, they have very little on which to fasten
their future. They are groping around. They seize upon the
excitement of the moment.” Mr. Nelson said that the unruly
actions of many teenagers resulted from a lack of discipline
in the home.
“This laxity goes back a long way. It began after the
first world war,” he said. “As a result, many parents today
are lacking in self discipline. They cannot manage
Our psychologist is Miss E. Harwood, Senior Lecturer in
Psychology at Queensland University. A “form of mass hysteria”
and “part and parcel of a mob psychology” was how Miss Harwood
described the uproar reported at Brisbane Airport on Sunday.
“I think it was due to a fairly natural desire by young
people to be part of the group,” she said. “Their actions were
probably imitative of what they thought that a teenager should
be. They were probably trying to copy their United States
“Screaming in the presence of Ray was probably due to a
wish to relax usual behaviour, which the teenager might
consider was too restrained.”
Our teenager, a fan of Johnnie Ray, is pretty Robyn
Brown, a typist, who is studying in her spare time for the
Senior Examination. Ray autographed her student’s copy of
“Why are you a fan of Johnnie Ray?” we asked her.
“He has a colossal personality,” she said. “His voice
sends you. His singing style is all his own. The other singers
are so ordinary.”
“Why do some teenagers squeal when Ray sings?”
“They are starved for attention. By squealing they show
Robyn continued: “Teenagers like to be taken notice of.
Johnnie does that. He flatters them.”
Courier Mail 31 May 1956
New Control for Boy- Girl Dances
Melbourne: An Intermediate Certificate will be the minimum
qualification to secure an invitation to G.P.S. dances and
parties in Melbourne from now on. (An Intermediate Certificate
in Victoria is equivalent to the Junior Certificate in
The parties are to start at 8pm and end not later
than 11.30pm and should be inexpensive to the host or hostess.
These proposals are among a number in an open letter sent to
parents of G.P.S. scholars by the headmasters and
headmistresses of independent schools of Victoria. They
recommend that school holiday parties should have adequate
adult supervision. They also recommend that:
Boys and girls should meet as many different partners
The dances should be by invitation;
The band should be limited to three piece;
Parents should discourage parties in their own homes
after the dance;
Parents of girls should call for their daughters after
the dance rather than have boys hire a taxi and then face a
long tram ride home.
Courier Mail Thursday 14 June 1956
Bodgies Police in Fight
Melbourne: Police fought with a bodgie gang in Coles’ Store,
Bourke Street, City at lunch time yesterday. They hustled 21
bodgies and 9 widgies from the store’s record bar, where the
teenagers had been disrupting shopping. Earlier police broke
up another gang of 30 which was playing football in Swanston
Street, disrupting traffic. It was the second time this week
that police had been called to remove bodgies and widgies from
big city stores. A big crowd watched the police wrestling with
the gang yesterday and traffic was held up outside Coles’
store. A police spokesman said last night that some bodgie
gangs were now armed with knuckledusters, knives and
bludgeons. They were becoming a serious menace.
Courier Mail Saturday 16 June 1956
Police Drive in City on Bodgies and Widgies
Consorting Squad detectives in Brisbane yesterday
questioned about 100 “bodgies and widgies” in a day and night
drive to learn their activities and means of livelihood.
Dozens were warned about their association with known
criminals. Last nights drive was a special move following news
from Melbourne that police and bodgies had fought in a city
store. Senior police officers have told detectives that
similar happenings are not to be allowed to occur in Brisbane.
yesterday several detectives visited city stores holding
sales, and mingled with large crowds. They warned off groups
of teenagers moving through some of the stores. Last night
Consorting Squad detectives, T (Terry) Lewis, T. Costello, B.
Barrett, and R. Breakwell visited Brisbane dance halls, wine
saloons and the Stadium. Several youths with “bodgie” hair
cuts were charged with drunkenness. In a tour of Brisbane and
inner suburbs, the detectives questioned more than 100 youths
and girls. Several girls were advised against their
association with youths, and four youths were “booked” for
Courier Mail Monday 20 August 1956
A small determined group of young Inala residents is
setting out to disprove rumours that the satellite town is a
bodgie widgie haunt. Led by teenager Miss Mary Maguire and
aided by Progress Association officials, the group has
established a youth club open to youths and girls between the
ages of 14 and 25. The club aims to promote cultural, social
and sporting activities, among the youth of Inala.
Last night, the club’s 10 member committee (six
youths and four girls) met to plan future activities for the
satellite town’s young men and women.
Inala Progress Association Secretary (Mr. K. Brown)
who attended last night’s meeting, afterwards said that a
“wild minority” had earned Inala its bodgie widgie reputation.
Mr. Brown said that the Youth Club was a follow up to
the Boys’ Club which was established some months ago, and now
had 250 members.
“But we are handicapped by the fact that there is no public hall at Inala which the clubs can use,” he said. He appealed for donations of sporting equipment for the Youth Club
Courier Mail Thursday 6 September 1956
Letters to the Editor
Blaming Parents is Slightly Ridiculous
Although still in my early forties, I fear that I am no longer young at heart because I cannot sympathise with the average teenager’s expectations that everything in the garden should be rosy.
concerned about the dissatisfaction among most teenagers, I
think that the continual stress on parental failure is
becoming slightly ridiculous. Teenagers should take more
advice from their parents instead of “following the leader.”
Mothers are only human and therefore admittedly make our share
of mistakes. This is balanced by our love for our children.
are in the unfortunate position of being “the corrector in
chief,” and very often the “spoil sport.” The average mother’s
life is one of sacrifice for her children. I would suggest to
teenagers that mothers may be likened to camels. They are
mostly burdened with financial worries beyond the ken of
teenagers. Most mothers around the 40 mark are certainly not
at their physical best, often as a direct result of child
rearing, and this constant wail of “It is your fault” may well
prove the last straw. Most teenagers have the best education
that their parents can afford, a good home, and love. Let them
repay some of their debts by a more cheerful and considerate
attitude to their parents, easing some of their worries, and
worry less about their own very vague dissatisfactions.
“Mother of five”
Courier Mail Monday 10 September 1956
Letters to the Editor
Bodgie Faults are not to be blamed on our children
If parents and other adults are not to blame for
teenage misbehaviour, then who is?
Children born within the last 20 years are no worse,
and no better, congenitally than at any other period. If their
behaviour is worse, it can only be the result of the training
and example they receive from adults.
It is adult greed that is responsible for the
production of radio programmes, literature and films. Not to a
standard suitable, healthy and enjoyable to youngsters, but to
a low standard which they believe that children want, however
over stimulating and unwholesome it may be for them.
Naturally the youngsters grow up with an appetite for
this type of entertainment, and are susceptible to its
It is adult greed which started the teenage cult,
stressing teenage fads and fashions. Adults profit by the
bodgie cult, in the manufacture and sale of “bodgie” clothing.
While these evil influences flourish unchecked, it is the
individual responsibility of parents and teachers to
counteract them by every means. The best means, of course, are
self discipline and a good example, and kindly and loving but
firm teaching in obedience.
Mrs. Margaret J.
15 Llewellyn Street,
Courier Mail Thursday 13 September 1956
Riot in London. Two Police Hurt in Rock ‘n’ Roll
London- September 12 (AAP) two policemen were injured last
night in trying to disperse a “rock 'n' roll” riot of
teenagers and Teddy Boys in South London. Singing and jiving
teenagers had started a street “rocking” session after a
performance in a local cinema of “Rock Around the Clock.”
This jazzy American film has caused similar disturbances all over Britain. Bottles and fireworks were thrown, and four shop windows were smashed. One policeman was detained for a time in hospital. Nine people were arrested. Some will appear at Tower Bridge Magistrates Court and others at East London Juvenile Court later today.
began to form after the performance of “Rock Around the
Clock”, and when police intervened, they formed jiving groups,
fighting and rioting broke out.
Lancashire towns, Blackburn and Preston, yesterday banned the
showing of “Rock Around the Clock.”
Town Clerk of Blackburn (Mr. F. Squires) said the ban was on
the ground that the film contained matter likely to lead to
public disorder. A cinema manager at Brentwood, Essex, has
cancelled the film, which was to have been shown at his cinema
on September 27.
Manchester yesterday where there were riots during a showing
of the film at the weekend, officials at the Gaiety Cinema
“vetted” a queue waiting for admission and turned some youths
away. In Bootle, Lancashire, police used batons to shepherd a
gang of 1000 shouting screaming youngsters, after 500 of them
left a “Rock ‘n’ Roll” cinema. In London yesterday, other
“rock 'n' rollers” were fined for their parts in weekend
outbreaks, in which, witnesses said, they:
poured out of a cinema in a horde, ran about the
streets and halted traffic;
blocked pavements as they jived and sang;
jostled passersby and behaved insultingly.
ranged from 10/- to £2.
magistrate said: “I personally think it is a pity that you
have to be brought into court. It would be better if the
police were allowed to deal with you in the way which would
give you something to rock 'n' roll about for a bit.”
Courier Mail Friday 14 September 1956
Rock 'n' roll
Young enthusiasts need not feel too disturbed at the
scientific test reported from Liverpool, in which six
chimpanzees turned up their noses at Rock 'n' roll music. This
does not prove that Rock 'n' roll is no good. Not a bit of it.
It does open up the possibility though that chimpanzees have
finer feelings than we have given them credit for up to date.
Courier Mail Wednesday 19 September 1956
The Queen sees Rock 'n' roll Film
London. September 18. (AAP)- Queen Elizabeth has asked to see
the film “Rock Around the Clock” which has led to rock 'n'
roll disturbances in several British towns.
A copy of the film was sent from London yesterday to
Balmoral, where the Queen is on holiday, the Daily Mirror
The Daily Express reported that showings of
“Rock Around the Clock” has been banned by country councils
in Stockport, Cheshire, and Gloucestershire yesterday.
But at Burt St. Edmunds in Suffolk, no objections
were raised by members of a watch committee after a private
showing of the film.
Sir Malcolm Sargeant, conductor of the BBC symphony
orchestra, said to day that rock 'n' roll music was “nothing
more than an exhibition of primitive tom tom thumping, and was
‘centuries old’. It was not ‘new and wonderful’ as many young
people thought. It had been played in the jungles for
Courier Mail Wednesday 19 September 1956
Letters to the Editor
As the police are so assiduous in raiding Bingo games which do
little if any harm, I should like to know why we never hear of
houses of ill repute being raided? I understand that they are
Courier Mail Thursday 20 September 1956
10 in Hospital in Rock Riot
New York. September 19 (AAP) A “rock 'n' roll” riot broke out
last night at the enlisted men’s club at the Newport Naval
Base, Rhode Island. Police said that both white and Negro
servicemen attended a dance there. But they were unable to
determine whether it was a racial riot.
Police estimated that nearly 2000 people were at the
“rock 'n' roll” session.
In Hollywood yesterday, Bill Haley, the rock 'n' roll
star, said that he was “very honoured” that Queen Elizabeth
had asked for a special showing of his film, “Rock Around the
Haley is making a successor to “Rock Around the
Clock” which now is causing a furore among British audiences.
“I feel that there is no harm in the picture, and the
Queen will realise it,” he said.
Haley said that he hoped to have a chance to play
before Queen Elizabeth when he goes to England for a series of
“one night stands” next February.
Haley described his music as “young and happy- just
for teenagers to dance to and let off a little steam.”
“Any other effect is exaggerated,” he said.
Courier Mail Friday 28 September 1956
Rule on Sin of Kissing
London: Kissing between unmarried and unrelated people was a
venial sin, if it created immediate carnal pleasure. The
Vatican inspired pastoral magazine, Palestra Del Clero,
has reported this.
It was a mortal sin if it heralded further sexual
acts, it said.
Kisses between husband and wife, or relative, were
not sinful if the intention was pure.
The magazine, which is published in Rome, was quoting
church theologians who had been asked for a ruling in the case
of a 15 year old boy who had confessed to kissing his
A priest had said that he was guilty of a mortal sin,
but a second priest had been of the opinion that the boy’s
action was not such a grave sin.
The theologians based their ruling on pronouncements
on kissing made by Popes Clement the Fifth (1305 to 1314) and
Pope Alexander the Seventh (1655 to 1657).
Courier Mail 2 October 1956
The Davy Crockett film currently in cinemas was creating a
demand for coon skin hats…among young boys.
Courier Mail Wednesday 3 October 1956
Gang Violence in New York
New York: October 2 (AAP)- Four teenage members of an “Elvis
Presley Club” were charged today with having murdered a member
of a rival “rock 'n' roll” gang. In Court they wore side lever
“Presley haircuts” and matching slacks and coats of green and
“These are Elvis’ favourite colours,” one of them
told a Judge.
The four youths, members of a Harlem gang called the
“Noble Englishmen,” stabbed a member of the rival “Robins”
gang in a weekend gang battle. They told police that the
argument started when some Robins insulted their singing
In London, bluebloods rocked and rolled in their
pyjamas in West End last night. Among them was Lord Montagu of
Beaulieu, in pyjamas of the palest blue.
The party, planned as a “rock 'n' roll binge of the
year,” was given by Ilsa Rivett-Carnac, daughter of
Vice-Admiral Carnac, and Valerie Petrie, a friend of Lord
Moynihan’s son, Tony.
All guests arrived in pyjamas, nighties or panties,
and the party was termed a great success.
And in Chicago, when a radio station presented a
continuous 12 hour concert of Presley records yesterday, one
woman said that she wanted to hang out her washing but
couldn’t because she might miss a song, and another said that
her baby, usually crying all morning, slept while Presley
The Roll is
Rocking US Music
Sydney: Rock 'n' roll music was “the worst thing that ever happened to America and American music.” Top US drummer, Buddy Rich, said this last night.
“It’s terrible,” said Rich, who arrived with his wife
and baby daughter for a 10 week theatrical tour.
“The kids over there are now carrying knives, guns, and
switchblades. This music has encouraged a wave of juvenile
“No one in America likes it. It’s set music back 100
years over there.”
Rich added: “Following the success of Elvis Presley,
there’s a bunch of hillbilly kids cropping up now cashing in
on the Presley style. Unfortunately the impact is with the
younger kids. Older people regard it as a joke. Anyway let’s
hope it’s just a flash in the pan. In six month’s time, it
might be just another funny name like Li’l Abner, and that’s
where they ought to send it to- back to Dogpatch.”
Rich will appear with other American entertainers, Stan
Freberg, Don Cornell and Joe “Fingers” Carr at Brisbane
Stadium on October 18.
Preaching at St. John’s Cathedral, Brisbane, last
night, Canon I. F. Church said that in his earlier years, St.
Francis of Assisi had resembled a certain young Englishman at
present in Australia, who had a n inclination towards rock 'n'
roll music. He said that the world, remembered St. Francis,
for the great belief in God that obsessed him.
roll at Birthday
London. October 9. (AAP) Rock 'n' roll rhythm will echo around
a stately Buckinghamshire home tonight at the 21st
birthday party of the Duke of Kent. The Duke likes rock 'n'
roll and the Queen, who will be a guest, has recently shown an
interest in it.
Hollywood. October 10. Bosomy actress Jayne Mansfield and Rock
'n' roll singer Elvis (“The Pelvis”) Presley will co-star in a
film entitled “The Love Machine.
A Twentieth Century Fox spokesman said that no script
had been written but that the plan was for a comedy “taking
advantage of his singing and her figure.”
Production might start early in 1957 but that depended
on Presley’s other commitments.
Presley finished his first picture “Love Me Tender” at
Twentieth Century Fox yesterday. In it he co-stars with
Richard Egan and Debra Paget.
Miss Mansfield is working in another picture at the
studio “The Girl Can’t Help It.”
Rocked at Duke’s 21st.
London. October 10. (AAP)- The big question was- would the
Duchess of Kent really permit rock 'n' roll music at the
Duke’s 21st birthday party. She did. And the Queen
and Duke of Edinburgh among others, danced to it.
It was the party of the year, with champagne, lobster,
rock 'n' roll, and £25,000 worth of jewellery being worn.
The young Duke, 7th in line to the throne
[then] received a roomful of presents from 1500 guests,
including a pile of rock 'n' roll records, his favourite
The Duke of Kent personally selected many of the dance
tunes, including “See You Later Alligator,” and, of course,
“Rock Around the Clock.”
Roll Next Week
The dance will be a prelude to the film “Rock Around
the Clock” which will open at the Tivoli Theatre next
on Bodgie Watch
Coolangatta: Point Danger swimming pool proprietor Jack Evans has mounted a gun guard to keep out “holidaying bodgies.”
Evans, 42, who has meshed 877 sharks along the South
Coast, says that the man-eaters are “tame” compared with
bodgies. Recently a large group of teenager bodgies broke into
Evan’s children’s swimming pool. “They held a party and left
dozens of broken bottles around. I spent hours cleaning up the
Diary of a
Doctor To Rock 'n' roll is Human, To Understand Divine.
Parents of each generation often feel that children today are worse behaved than were those of their young days. Evidence points the other way.
“You look a
little heavy eyed,” said the Ear, Nose and Throat Bloke to one
of the Honoraries, at afternoon tea. “Had a busy 24 hours?”
particularly,” was the reply. ‘I’ve merely been entertaining
asked the Ear, Nose and Throat.
heard of something now happening at parties called Rock 'n'
roll?” asked the Honorary.
teenage children,” he continued, “One of them had a birthday
last night. Being an indulgent father, I turned back the
carpet, gave them a pound or two for some new records. What I
witnessed makes it clear that they all need psychiatric
attention. It went on to the early hours and they seemed to
finish in a daze, a dancing daze.”
make me rather despair at times,” came the voice of the other
“If you would only read your medical history…indeed a little
world history…you would understand your patients…young
people…and indeed the whole world so much better. Dancing
excitements have been with us down the years. There are fewer
of them than there used to be, and they are probably less
startling than they used to be. Have you, for instance, heard
of the Tarantella?”
“isn’t that a
musical piece or something?”
“It’s a dance,
and 500 years ago it became a mania. People, especially young
people, danced it with the complete abandon till they fell to
the ground exhausted. They used to drag the unconscious bodies
out of the dancing arena. Incidentally participation in the
frenzy was supposed to cure spider bites. The Tarantella went
on its merry way for nearly 300 years..”
“You mean rock
'n' roll could go on forever?”
“No. The young
people of today are more sensible, better educated and
healthier than any young person the world has yet known.”
Mail 1 November 1956
rocking to the beat for happy feet.
It’s rock, rock, rock around the clock to
Bill Haley and
and His Bellboys
and 17 out of
this world song hits-
Razzle Dazzle; A.B.C. Boogie; See You Later Alligator, etc.
big Show- “Fury at Gunsight Pass.” (G).
10.14, 1.22, 4.43, 7.45. R. 7.27 Cinesound Review.
Largest Rock ‘n’ Roll Line up ever presented in Australia.
With 6 Big
All in Person
– Book Now
General Admission 5/-
Saturday 3 November 1956
*** “The Dam Busters”
“The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit” (Rex).
“We’re No Angels” (WinterGarden).
Last Hunt” (Metro).
Around the Clock.” (Tivoli)
the Clock” (Tivoli).
All in their
Mail Saturday 3 November 1956
as help to Bodgies”
and Widgees in Australia could be straightened out with a plan
now successfully operating in America.
D. Grymes, a United States youth leader and
Secretary-Treasurer of the International Association of Young
Mens’ Christian Association clubs, said this in Brisbane
yesterday. Mr. Grymes proposed the American Y.M.C.A.’s “Boy of
the Month Club.” Each community would nominate its “boy of the
month” selected for something outstanding he had achieved. Mr.
Grymes explained, “A kid loves to inflate his ego. He wants to
attract attention. It’s a form of exhibitionism. Rock ‘n’ roll
is another manifestation of the same thing. The boy of the
month gets attention in the news headlines. That is vital to
the scheme. When bodgies and widgees see another youth in the
headlines for doing something good, they’ll want to be in it
themselves. It’s simply turning a negative into a positive. It
is working well in America.”
at Palings, Music Masters.
Night Only Thursday 29 November
Big Show- Brisbane Stadium
k ‘n’ Roll Festival
k ‘n’ Roll Festival
tomorrow. 8pm. Wednesday
All Star Cast
Gowans and his Rockets
Marathon Drum Title Holder
Rock ‘n’ Roll
of the Rock”
“Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
his Drum Rock!
of the Rock ‘n’ Roll
many many more
performance of America’s Foremost exponent of
Now at Music Masters
5/- and 7/6d.
Mail Thursday 20 November 1956
Rocker Riot in Brisbane
arrested eight teenagers when Brisbane’s first rock ‘n’ roll
riot stopped traffic in Albert Street, City, last night.
Police reinforcements were rushed to the Brisbane Stadium when
teenagers began rioting in the streets. Trouble started in the
Stadium during a rock ‘n’ roll festival. Police had to quell
several disturbances during the show. Police said several
youths tore down electrical conduit in the stadium. As the
crowd left the stadium, about 10.30pm, several disturbances
started. One group of teenagers abused police.
police had their caps snatched off and uniforms torn during
struggles. Police stopped and dispersed a yelling crowd of
several hundred teenagers who were advancing up Albert Street
towards Queen Street. All traffic was stopped in Albert Street
between the Stadium and Queen Street soon after 10.30pm. One
youth smashed a bottle on a police car. A policeman was hit on
the head by a stone. Six youths and two girls were later
charged at the City Watchhouse on a number of charges,
including disorderly conduct, assault, and obscene language.
Mail 23 November 1956
be ready for Rioting by Youths
been unprepared for Wednesday night’s rock ‘n’ roll riot but
would be ready if it occurred again, Detective Sub Inspector
Mahony (prosecutor) said in the Police Court yesterday.
and two women were charged after a clash with police in Albert
Street at the end of a Stadium concert.
John McLune, 20, woodworker, pleaded guilty to having
assaulted Detective Sergeant M. A. Hopgood, used obscene
language, and resisted Constable A. V. Potts. Sub- Inspector
Mahony said the Stadium “bleachers” section was deliberately
set alight by a gang of hoodlums. Police put the fire out
before any great damage was done. Electrical wiring was pulled
off the walls. He said that after the concert hundreds of
teenagers began “rockin’ ‘n’ rollin” in Albert Street, where
they clashed with police squads. McLune used obscene language
and when arrested, threw himself on the footpath. McLune was
fined a total of £13 or a month’s jail. He was allowed 14 days
Henry Jones, 18, coal miner, of Ipswich, pleaded guilty to
having assaulted Constable M. V. Liddle, used obscene language
and behaved in a disorderly manner. The prosecutor said Jones
was arrested after he had jumped on the back of a detective
who had arrested another demonstrator. Jones was fined a total
of £10 and allowed a month to pay.
Duke, 21, labourer, who pleaded not guilty to five charges,
was remanded until 29 November. He was charged with having
assaulted and resisted Sergeant H. E. Warburton, assaulted
Constable S. L. Hopper, and destroyed two police caps valued
at £1/ 19/ 3d. Asked by Mr. Taylor whether he applied for
bail, Duke shook his head and walked to the Watchhouse cells.
Charles Warren, 17, clerk of Salisbury, was remanded until 29
November when he pleaded not guilty to having willfully
damaged Constable J. K. Mahony’s wrist watch, behaving in a
disorderly manner, and using insulting words. His sol (Mr. J.
T. Delaney) said Warren had a complete answer to the charge.
Warren was allowed £40 bail on his own bond.
Michael O’Connor, 21, meat worker, of Cannon Hill, forfeited
£1 bail when he failed to appear on a charge of having behaved
in a disorderly manner.
James, 17, clerk, also forfeited £1 bail, when he failed to
appear on a similar charge.
McMillan Clarke, 17, calculator operator, of Clayfield,
forfeited £1 Watchhouse bail when she failed to appear on a
charge of having behaved in a disorderly manner in Queen
Smith, otherwise Frances Martin, 19, cake packer, forfeited £2
bail when she failed to appear on a charge of having used
Mail 23 November 1956
and rollies” who made a nuisance of themselves in Brisbane on
Wednesday night were most of them teenagers. As some teenagers
like to do, they were “showing off.”
took a serious view of their conduct, perhaps too serious. A
sharp lecture might have brought most of them to their senses,
and sent them home shamefaced. There is a risk that some of
them will now want to pose as heroes or heroines- among their
mates because they were tried in a police court and fined.
They really behaved like silly children, and if those who were
only mischievous and not a serious menace to life and property
had been treated as such, they would probably now want to
forget the ridiculous exhibition they made of themselves.
Mail 27 November 1956
editorial “Showing Off” (Courier Mail 23 November 1956)
directed attention to police action necessary to control
hooligans. As a taxpayer, I object to the police having to
keep in order irresponsible children of irresponsible parents.
I would suggest the reintroduction of the birch rod for
delinquents and a garnishee of the parents’ income.
Wednesday night I allowed my daughter to attend the rock ‘n’
roll festival with a young male student companion. On her
arrival home, she was really distressed about what she had
witnesses. Her opinion was that some sections of the audience
were badly behaved and needed some restraint, but certainly
not the bashing that was handed out to them by the police. My
opinion is that the authorities are treating the effect and
not the cause. Why isn’t some legislation passed to ban rock
‘n’ roll from radio, screen and Press and also prosecute firms
selling clothing which “makes” the bodgie and widgee types.
I do not
agree with the Courier Mail editorial stating that a sharp
rebuke would have checked the wild teenagers in Albert Street.
I come from a certain western town where the police Sergeant
had his own unofficial method of dealing with law breaking
youngsters. He waited until there was a crowd around, then he
got the offender by the shirt and pants and gave him a heave
with a gentle kick in the rear to help him on his way. None of
them could stand up to the jeering laughing crowd, and they
never came back for a second time.
“Just a Mother”
all mothers of teenagers are with me in whole hearted thanks
for the censoring of the unsavoury comics and “pulp”
magazines. Let us keep before our young people the best in
“Mother of Teenagers,”
Mail 24 November 1956
“Look for a
‘gang of bodgies”
are seeking a gang of “out of work” bodgies in their
investigation into the mystery death of a 48 year old man in
the Valley. This switch in the police search followed
information that a young man had been brutally bashed by a
bodgie gang near an Adelaide Street dance hall late on Sat
night. The gang robbed the young man and stripped him of his
shirt and trousers….
Mail 28 November 1956
hundred police were on duty at Brisbane City Hall last night
to prevent any trouble at the rock ‘n’ roll concert. They
included uniform, plain clothes and military police. One
thousand teenagers were at the concert. They spilled in a mass
through King George Square, when the concert ended at 10.45pm.
They screamed, whistled, cheered and “counted out” the police.
But apart from moving them on, police had to take no action.
Mail 29 November 1956
Wednesday’s “riot” at the Stadium, many rather decent chaps
and girls were present who were disgusted by the way in which
the police handled the situation. Perhaps a little more tact
would have prevented such a display. Most of the young ones
rebelled against the way some girls were treated by officials.
Lyle R. Parker,
17 Somers Street, Nudgee.
Mail Friday 30 November 1956
Roll Charges Denial by Teenager
barrister said yesterday that the City Council had suspended a
teenage clerk pending the outcome of charges against him
arising from a rock ‘n’ roll disturbance. The barrister (Mr.
O. J. North) was appearing for the youth before Mr. Taylor,
SM, in the Police Court. Constable J. K. Mahony, who had
arrested the youth, told Mr. North that by his appearance he
would not type the youth as a bodgie. Constable J. K. Mahony
denied to Mr. North that police had set out to clean up
“bodgies” on the night of the Stadium “rock ‘n’ roll” show.
Mahony denied that on arrival at the Watchhouse he hit the
youth. Michael Charles Warren, 17, in the solar plexus,
knocking him to the ground. Warren has pleaded not guilty to
having behaved in a disorderly manner in Albert Street;
willfully damaging a watch the property of Constable Mahony,
and used insulting words to Detective R. K. Edwards “get out
you mug copper.” Evidence was taken only on the behaving in a
disorderly manner charge. Warren was remanded until today on
his own £40 bail bond. Mr. North was instructed by Messrs.
Feather, Walker and Delaney.
Courier Mail Saturday 1
Warren was discharged on the charge of behaving in a disorderly manner.
Mail Thursday 20 December 1956
It is very
heartening to read where a school boy has been dropped from
his school football team because of a Tony Curtis haircut. I
trust the principals of some of our high schools in Queensland
will rid their schools of “bodgie” style hair cuts. The
“bodgie” style is the badge of a cult, and recent happenings
in one particular high school have shown that unless a stand
is taken now, “blackboard jungles” will soon be found here in
Brisbane. Some students who sat for the Junior Examination
three weeks before turned up at speech night dressed in
“bodgie” style clothing with “bodgie” haircuts. School socials
will be discontinued at one school next year because of the
behaviour of “bodgie” types this year.
Mail 19 December 1956
December 19 (AAP) Six year old Princess Anne rock ‘n’ rolled
in her seat when she and Prince Charles saw their first
pantomime, “Dick Whittington,” in London yesterday. The sight
of George Formby, in his first pantomime part as Idle Jack,
rock ‘n’ rolling to “Rock Around the Clock,” was too much for
the little Princess. She rolled and swayed in her seat. Her
hands beat time in the air. The Queen and Princess Margaret
laughed at her.
1957. Courier Mail.
the Stars of “Rock Around the Clock”
with Bill Haley and His Comets
Stars of the Great Film “Rock Around the
with the Platters
Stars of the Great Film “Rock Around the
with Freddie Bell and the Bell Boys
Stars of the Great Film “Rock Around the
with La Verne Baker.
with Joe Turner
A cast of 27 American Rock ‘n’ Rollers flown
direct from Hollywood.
Next Wednesday, Thursday nights only.
Bookings open tomorrow at Palings and Music
The Big Show, Brisbane Stadium.
Mail Thursday 3 January 1957
the Editor from ‘Rustle of Spring’ Carina:
Why not ban Rock ‘n’ Roll.
“To reduce delinquency, why not ban ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’
and ‘Elvis the Pelvis,’ films and records from this Country.
Why do many of our teenagers worship low grade Americans with
their vulgar jokes, dances, and manners.”
Mail Sat 5 January 1957
Roll’ founder to visit Brisbane
The man who claims to have originated the teenage
craze of Rock ‘n’ Roll will arrive in Brisbane on Wednesday.
He is middle aged balding guitar player, Bill Haley, who
achieved overnight success with one recording about 18 months
ago. The recording “Rock around the Clock,” was first used as
the theme for the film “Blackboard Jungle,” and went on to
become one of the best selling records of the year. Later a
film, “Rock around the Clock,” starring Haley and his band,
was made and caused near riots in movie theatres throughout
the world. Police patrolled the aisles during the screening of
the film in Brisbane, at the Tivoli theatre, but there were no
Haley, who has called his band Haley’s Comets, has consistently defended rock ‘n’ roll music against charges that it has contributed to juvenile delinquency in several countries.
Extra police will be on duty to control rock ‘n’ roll
concerts starring ‘Haley’s Comets’ and other overseas
entertainers at the Brisbane Stadium next Wednesday and
Thursday. At least 12 uniformed police will be doing
“specials.” The police will be men who are rostered for days
off, but who have agreed to do special duty at the Stadium,
and who will be paid by the management. Stadium managers (Mr.
Bert Potts) said last night that for normal concerts about
seven “specials” police were obtained.
“We have decided to have extra police at the show
because of riots at rock ‘n’ roll concerts both here and
abroad,” he said. “However,” said Mr. Potts, “American artists
are appearing on the shows next week, and we expect a
different class of audience to that which caused the riots at
the Stadium at the last rock ‘n’ roll concert.” Several people
were charged in the Police Court after a clash with police at
a concert of Australian entertainers at the Stadium on
Mail Monday 7 January 1957
Letters to the Editor. Mr. E. D. Greig of Anzac
Avenue, Redcliffe wrote:
Parent Looks at Rock ‘n’ Roll
“Few have bothered to analyse rock ‘n’ roll for what
it is, or the types who are influenced by its rhythm. Rock ‘n’
roll links itself with the homelessness of the individual;
this can be either material or physical homelessness. The
notes possess an ecstasy which encourages a joyful abandonment
to the sensual excitement created by the rhythmic beat, and
the subject finds release from all the pressures which confine
the teenagers to adult limitations. I am a parent and I see in
organised rock ‘n’ roll, a true means of getting to understand
the perplexities of adolescence. I like to see this measure
done by youth in normal healthy circumstances. Don’t condemn-
try looking at why teenagers need such a release from the
common ties of home life.”
the Editor, Courier Mail. Monday 7 January 1957
“ Why doesn’t ‘Rustle of Spring’ (Courier Mail 3
January 1957) rustle off with his rock ‘n’ roll bans and leave
teenagers alone. Rock ‘n’ roll is no worse than the
Charleston, or the bunny-hug, or jive- or any other form of
From Tony Cotterell, of Grosvenor Street,
Mail Tuesday 8 January 1957
Rockers with the Anthem
Rock ‘n’ Roller Bill Haley will play “God Save the
Queen” if teenagers get out of hand at his Brisbane Stadium
concert tomorrow and Thursday. He reasons that his audience
will then stand quietly at attention. But he usually employs a
simpler method for quietening young audiences. He simply stops
Haley, at 30, has already made a fortune out of rock
‘n’ roll. He lives with his wife and five children in a
$100,000 (£44,640) mansion in Chester, Pennsylvania.
Sales of records made by his band, known as Haley’s
Comets, now total nearly 17 million. According to Haley, Elvis
Presley would have remained a nobody if Haley’s band had not
pioneered rock ‘n’ roll. A few years ago Haley toured 183
American schools and colleges to find out what young people,
who bought most of the records, wanted. On the basis of his
findings, he evolved a style which brought him quick fame 18
months ago with his recording of “Rock Around the Clock.”
Used first in the film, “The Blackboard Jungle,” and
later as the title piece of a film devoted to rock ‘n’ roll,
it brought him a world reputation. The “Rock Around the Clock”
film was accompanied by picture-house riots in some American
and English cities in which teenagers ripped seats, threw
fireworks, broke bottles, and blocked traffic.
Haley said that rock ‘n’ roll first became
controversial, not because of the music’s beat, but because of
questionable lyrics in some songs. He claims to re-write any
that are off-colour. Other performers at this week’s concerts
will include the Platters, Freddie Bell and the Bell Boys, La
Vern Baker, and Joe Turner.
Mail Thursday 10 January 1957
Shook as thousands rocked ‘n’ rolled
Bill Haley and his Comets shook a packed Brisbane
Stadium into convulsive movement at the climax of their first
rock ‘n’ roll concert here last night. Teenagers and some
older men and women clapped, fluttered their arms, gyrated
their knees and jigged with their heels. While rows of the
audience swayed in unison from side to side, stamping and
singing in time with the band. But there were no real attempts
to dance or start a rush. An estimated 10,000 attended last
night’s two concerts.
Bill Haley, a big boned, beefy man with a kiss curl
coiled carefully across his brow, strummed an electric guitar.
More than 12 police patrolled outside while others watched
inside. No incidents were reported. The Comets, scarlet
coated, black trousered, and in white shoes, blew, banged, and
bounced in the converted boxing ring littered with amplifiers,
instruments and microphones.
When Haley first entered, he spoke into a “dead”
microphone, and had to begin his high speed welcome twice.
Members of the band took it in turns to sing, one in a squeaky
falsetto. The bass player played his instrument upside down
and sideways along the floor. He was lying face downwards on
it when his pants split at the seam, by accident or design.
“On His Back”
The saxophonist knelt , writhed, buckled at the
knees, and once lay down on his back to play. During the last
three numbers, and particularly during “Alligator” and “Rock
Around the Clock,” the throbbing beat mingled with the high
pitched squealing and mass hand-clapping to make a deafening
noise. But during the earlier part of the programme, the
audience contented itself with cheering and clapping, and the
“rockers” were in the minority. Some teenagers sat in rapt, or
even apparently sullen, stillness. One bow tied youngster
economized by shaking alternate shoulders.
Freddie Bell and the Bell Boys, another rock ‘n’ roll
band, opened the programme. The band’s pianist stood at his
instrument, occasionally playing it as though he were washing
his hands vigorously, but more often improvising his own
La Vern Baker, a sultry coloured singer, wore sparkling cartwheel earrings big enough to cover her ears and half her cheeks.
The five Platters sang with slightly more subtlety,
and Joe Turner, a benevolent bulky Negro singer, completed the
Mail Thursday 10 January 1957
about ‘Rock’ Fell on the Rocks
With rock ‘n’ roll the vogue, we went along yesterday
to see a preview of a film called “Rock, Rock, Rock,” soon to
be seen in town. With or without commas, this picture reaches
a new level in movie entertainment- namely, rock bottom.
And, horror of horrors, this film introduces a child rock ‘n” roller, a
Negro boy named Frank something or other in his early teens
delivers a frightful tune called “I’m not a Juvenile
Delinquent.” That is open to question. Then there is a girl
called Tuesday Weld, who plays the feminine lead. Her acting,
deportment, and attempts at dubbing song lyrics, were like
last Thursday’s hash.
“Rock, Rock, Rock” is just a cheap quickie, and if
Hollywood hopes to exploit rock ‘n’ roll on the screen, it
will have to do a bit better.
P. D. Spooner.
Bill Haley and
His Comets in a rock musical sensation “Don’t Knock the Rock.”
With the top
new singer Alan Dale, Alan Freed, The Tremolos, Little
Richard, Dave Applicant and His Applejacks.
Hear 13 songs:
Don’t Knock the Rock; Hot Dog; Buddy Buddy; Rip It Up; I Cry
More; Tutti Frutti; Calling All Comets; etc.
says “Don’t Knock the Rock” has the mostest, with more rock,
more roll, than “Rock Around the Clock.”
Sydney: When rock ‘n’ roll music was played people got excited, and not only moved around physically, but gave vent to noises, Mr. Justice McLelland said yesterday in the Equity Court. It could produce a “really dreadful noise,” he said. He was hearing an application for an interim “anti-noise” injunction against the proprietor of a King’s Cross coffee shop.
“If it were
Chopin’s Nocturne or a quiet waltz, it would be different,”
His Honour said. The new Court order allows the coffee shop
band to play without amplifiers until 11pm seven days a week.
A Look at
Films with P. D. Spooner
delinquents, we have been misled. This rock ‘n’ roll business
is not the social menace it’s cracked up to be. This
information we gleaned from a film called “Don’t Knock the
Rock” at the Tivoli. The message behind the title is a
passionate plea to squares not to say derogatory things about
the new sensation. They say that Dad and Mum behaved just as
badly back in the roaring twenties. Hero of this piece is a
character named Arnie Haines, who SENDS almost every
susceptible teenager in America. He is just the most, but so
terribly, misunderstood. He takes a holiday in his home town
of Mellondale and is promptly given marching orders by the
local mayor. To prove he is not a social menace, he puts on a
big rock ‘n’ roll show, which includes Bill Haley and His
Comets, and an awful little man called Little Richard.
mischievous blonde ruins the party, and poor Mr. Haines, whose
screen name is Alan Dale, is practically rocked, rolled and
ruined. But he has a secret weapon- the Charleston. Confronted
with this sordid reminder of what he used to do in his youth,
the Mayor sinks off in confusion.
So Rock ‘n’
Roll is whitewashed, innocuous as a Boy Scouts’ rally. In
between all this naïve morality, we were subjected to some
moronic dialogue, quivering dancing, and monotonous rhythm.
Bob Rogers, will introduce his new programme, Rock ‘n’ Roll,
tonight at 9.00pm on 4BH. The programme will feature 30
minutes of the best Rock ‘n’ Roll music from world famous
London February 10,
1957- A controversial week. The arrival of Mr. Bill Haley, his
kiss curl, and His Comets, caused a riot. This involved some
3000 “cats” and several thousand subsequent controversial
I have just
returned from a few weeks at one of the South Coast resorts. I
saw girls practically naked on the beaches and young men not
much better, and all lying about on the sand in attitudes
which, to say the least, look highly immodest. A good spanking
on the extensive areas made available by the girls and usually
regarded as the proper place for such purposes would bring
them back to the realisation that a woman’s body should be
decently clothed and not excessively exposed to attract men.
There seems no doubt that this is their intention. When
“dressed,” they are not much better.
Bodgies says Stampfl.”
Bodgies and widgees would be unknown in Australia, if the country had good facilities for athletic training, world famous athletic coach, Franz Stampfl said this in Brisbane last night when he addressed a public meeting in the Albert Hall.
“If we can
supply sufficient counter attractions we can lure the young
people from the dancehalls and milk bars” Stampfl said.
To the Editor:
Recently it was impossible to enjoy any kind of entertainment
in Brisbane, in particular, a good film whatever the time of
day, because of the wailing of babies in the audience. As an
answer to that, a few of the more astute cinema proprietors
installed sound proof rooms for mothers with babies in arms-
or at least they planned to do so.
Now it is
impossible to enjoy any kind of entertainment any time,
anywhere, in Brisbane, without having to listen to the
interjections of bodgie and widgie types of all ages, who seem
to think it is a sign of smartness to shout remarks all over
the theatre. How nice was the baby wailing in comparison! What
are the movie houses going to do about that?
I suggest the
employment of “bouncers” who could eject these types, the way
children would be thrown out if they did not behave. Or have
them appear like naughty children on the stage during the
interval, making them look ridiculous in the eyes of their
friends. In my opinion, this is a much more disturbing thing
than smoking during the screening of a film.
C. K. Stenzel,
Bodgies Blacklisted by Theatres.
Brisbane cinema managers have begun a get tough campaign against trouble making bodgies and widgies. Some have already drawn up a “blacklist” of youths and girls with past records of creating a nuisance in theatres. Ticket sellers have been instructed to refuse them admission. Many city and suburban theatres are now regularly engaging police patrols on nights when bodgies and widgies are expected to cause trouble.
In a letter to
the Courier Mail yesterday, Mr. C. T. Stenzel, of South
Brisbane, said it was impossible to enjoy entertainment in
Brisbane “without having to listen to the interjections of
bodgie and widgie types…who seem to think it is a sign of
smartness to shout remarks all over the theatre.” Mr. Stenzel
suggested the employment of “bouncers” to eject the
troublemakers, or “to have them appear like naughty children
on the stage during the interval.”
Street theatre manager said last night: “We have all had
trouble from these types at some time or another, but we are
not going to tolerate it any more. They’ll be put out quick
and lively the minute they begin playing up.”
said they were keeping troublesome bodgies and widgies out of
their theatre by “spotting” them in foyers and refusing to
sell them tickets. A Valley theatre spokesman said Friday and
Saturday nights were usually the worst in the week for bodgies
and widgie trouble.
Johnny Finds us Squares
O’Keefe said he and the Hon. Tony Moynihan had planned to give a series of rock ‘n’ roll concerts in Queensland country centres, but theatre managers feared damage to their theatres!
“Even in Brisbane we find box plan agents are not prepared to handle the show if we label it a rock ‘n’ roll concert,” he said. The City Hall concert at which O’Keefe and his Dee Jays played last night was called a “jazz concert.”
“Queensland is the only square State in Australia, man,” said Johnny.
“That’s not because the average person does not want us. It’s because of a minority of people who have read about rock ‘n’ roll riots. In Sydney rock ‘n’ roll is accepted socially. It’s accepted socially in England. But not in Queensland.”
Courier Mail Wednesday 20
Elvis the Pedaller.
Old time transport (bicycle) for a new vogue singer Elvis Presley, who uses a bicycle to carry actress Lizabeth Scott and himself to and from the sound stages at Paramount studio where he is making “Loving You.” Presley actually owns four Cadillacs.
Courier Mail Thursday 21
Teddy Boys are Sad and
Other Young Englishmen
The Troubled World of
Youth- Part 4- England
By John Williams
The Rock ‘n’ Roll film “Rock Around the Clock” was showing that night at a small London suburban cinema. The cinema manager quaked in anticipation and with good reason. A half hour before the show was scheduled to start, the manager’s worst fears were realised. For here came the Teddy Boys.
The Teddy Boys name is derived from the clothes they wear in shabby, pathetic imitation of the grandeur of dress in the early twentieth century era of King Edward VII. The Teddy Boys- thin, cocky teenagers- wear “drainpipe” trousers (related to American peg leg pants, and tapering, heavily padded coats. Their hair is long, often greasy. Many are organised in shady teenaged gangs. The girls match the boys, raucous voiced, shallow, talking of little beyond third rate films and reading little beyond romance novels.
Rock ‘n’ roll’s fame had spread wide, so here were the Teddy Boys pouring into the cinema. The film started and the first boops of rock ‘n’ roll exploded in their ears. The cinema went mad. Boys jerked girls to their feet. They stamped and yelled, danced in the aisles, on seats, even on the stage, blocking the film. The manager stopped the film. He broadcast for quiet. He was met by a sea of shouting, picked up, carried from the cinema, and deposited in the street. The police were called, and the night’s fun was over. After that, many areas banned “Rock Around the Clock.”
But they couldn’t ban Teddy Boys and their girls, for this is the sad lost generation that grew up with the crump of German bombs as background and the floors of dingy air raid shelters for beds. The new glass and glitter imitation Italian coffee bars, dance halls, cinemas- these are the homes for many Teddy Boys and girls. They neck on the platforms and in the carriages of the roaring underground railways that honeycomb London.
They are pale, these young East End Londoners, from lack of sunshine, lack of fresh air. The Teddy Boys eat badly too- in grimy little cafes where the menu runs to fried fish, bready sausages, and greasy eggs, always with potato chips.
This is a black picture. But, of course, only a section of London’s youth are Teddy Boys. In this huge city you probably would find as many young people who love Beethoven as love Rock “n” Roll. Many of these serious minded young people, coming to London from provincial homes, live in tiny, rented rooms, cooking meals over gas rings, perched near their beds, pushing pennies and shilling pieces into meters to get a little heating for hot water. They work hard, study hard, and save hard, except for tickets, maybe two or three nights weekly, to West End plays, ballets and musical recitals. It is these gentle, friendly young Londoners who seem to worry most about their nation’s future, who ponder the rights and wrongs of migrating to new, energetic lands. A young man who wanted to marry and then take his bride to Australia, told me: “It sounds unpatriotic, but this country is finished. We reached our natural limits many years ago. From now on we go down hill. The Empire, as was right, has broken up. It will need tremendous effort to maintain even our present standard of living. I think that our crippling income tax is at the stage where it no longer pays to display incentive, to work hard. There is no top to get to. You have seen the new Government built houses- row after row of boxes with pitiful little gardens. They’ll all be slums in 20 years. I love England but I wanted a new life while I have a chance to earn more than £15 or £20 a week, while I can own my own home, and car and save a little money, where my children can get good food and grow strong in the sunshine. The war took too much out of Britain. Germany has rebuilt. In some areas we are still planning to rebuild. You can see our tiredness in our faces in the way we uncomplainingly accept any inconvenience as if the war was still on. We are more and more content with less and less.”
Courier Mail Friday 22
Letters to the Editor
Film Managers are
punching bags for bodgies
I can tell Mr. Stenzell (Courier Mail 18 March 1957) why bodgies and widgies at picture theatres are becoming an annoyance out of all proportion to their numbers. One of the most effective remedies for these offences is to deny admission to the culprits for a month, or for all time, depending on the gravity of the offence. However, it is difficult to identify and locate the offenders because of complete lack of cooperation on the part of the audience. Furthermore, when an offender is caught in the act, it usually results in the manager of the theatre concerned becoming a punching bag for louts around the 18 to 26 age group.
Having had some experience along these lines, I know what I am talking about. The way the Act is at present constituted police cannot take any action in the case of such assault as they must see the assault in progress. The only remedy and a doubtful one, is for the manager concerned to take civil action against the perpetrator. The punishment for such an offence is usually a small bond. No theatre manager worthy of the name has any desire to see his entertainment spoiled by the actions of the people Mr. Stenzel complains about, but I am afraid that, until the Act is amended, he, like the theatre manager, will have to suffer in silence.
S. S. Clapham,
Courier Mail Friday 22
Letters to the Editor
Lets Keep it Square
In reply to Johnny O’Keefe (Courier Mail 20 March 1957), let us keep Queensland the only “square” state in Australia. We appreciate the ban on rock ‘n’ roll by theatre owners and booking agents, who apparently are less interested in the pounds (£) and more interested in real music. We will not accept rock ‘n’ roll socially, because we cannot accept rock ‘n’ roll musically.
Courier Mail Friday 22 March 1957
French Girls and Boys Are
They Don’t Go Mad over
Rock ‘n’ Roll
The Troubled World of
Youth- Part 5- France
“You can see
how the French revolution began,” said my Australian friend,
nodding from our restaurant table to the screaming, furious
crowd jostling in the street outside. It was Paris, a mild
night last November. A mild night when, for the first time in
a generation, the youth of Paris was stirred to real fury. The
day before Paris newspapers with deep headlines, had announced
the return of Russia’s tank cordon to strangle free Budapest.
Now the electric tension of two days was broken. In the
streets the young men and women of Paris were digging up
stones and huge chunks of roadway for use as weapons.
groups of other young Parisians armed with broken bottles and
nail embedded wooden fencing. Carrying Hungarian flags with
Communist emblems torn out, they swept down on to the
Communist party’s headquarters.
alerted for trouble, had a strong armed cordon around the
building. The youth of Paris swept aside the cordon and
stormed into the building. Communists, entrenched on the top
floor, threw home made bombs into the crowd below. Two or
three young anti-Communists were enveloped in flames and later
Meanwhile, the rioting youths on the lower floors threw office chairs, files- everything and anything- through the Red Headquarters shattered windows. Eager friends below piled it all on a huge bonfire. A second, hastily armed crowd bore down on the Communist Party’s newspaper, L’Humanité, which earlier that day had hung Russian and French flags side by side from its windows. Bottles and bricks crashed into the building, several rioters stormed inside and were “captured.” by the newspaper staff. Street fighting mounted to such fury that police sealed off the whole area. Even the underground railway stations were closed as the bloody battles swayed over Paris. For five hours the youth of Paris showed what they thought of Communism.
My friend and
I had mingled with the crowd and were stupid enough to talk
English. A group of young men heard us, waved their sticks and
bottles, and shouted “Americans.” We dived into the safety of
the nearest restaurant, not waiting to explain that we were
not Americans. For this was the time of the Suez crisis, and
the popularity of Americans, never high, had reached an all
time low. All things American are, as a rule, ignored by young
Paris, probably the only city in Western Europe not to go mad
over Rock ‘n’ Roll. The only signs of Americana in the student
quarters of Paris are pin ball machines- clanking and jingling
up the scores while the Parisians whoop with delight.
Days after the riot when tempers were back to normal, a young Frenchman explained his dislike of Americans.
American comes here wearing loud clothes, loaded down with
cameras, and stays three or four days firmly convinced he is
seeing Paris. He is usually with a party of fellow Americans
and so is relieved of the boredom of spending any time with
the French. He has the boyish belief, apparently given him in
America, that Paris is an excitingly naughty city. To most
people, Paris is so very much more. Finally he can’t
understand why we don’t all love Americans and want to live in
America. Politically we think that the American nation is
naïve. The Suez crisis was partly the fault of their lack of
Middle East policy. But all they do is act like hurt children.
If a dictator seized the Panama Canal, of course, they would
fight for it. And how would they feel if we voted in the UN
with Russia against them? That is exactly what they did in
reverse. We are fed up with their morality.”
Rival Rock ‘n’ Roll Fans Chase Record
Late last night teenage groups in two capital cities were rock
‘n’ rolling their way towards a world jive endurance record.
In Melbourne, eight gaily dressed couples danced steadily
towards the mark of 14 hours, which the Australian Jazz and
Jive Society claimed was the existing record. But in Perth,
four youths, who had been rock ‘n’ rolling non-stop for 48
hours, claimed they still had 60 hours to go. They said that
the present record was 108 hours.
In Hobart at
4.45pm, yesterday, a jive couple had stumbled off the dance
floor and claimed a new world record of 16¾ hours.
national jitterbug champion, Lindsay Owen, who organised the
Melbourne attempt, said: “Ours is definitely the only
officially recognised non-stop record. The other attempts are
bodgie.” “They can sit down and have 10 minutes break for
meals. We don’t allow any shilly-shally like that.”
Letters to the Editor,
“Bodgies as Gentlemen?”
Is it not possible for the police to use more tact in dealing with so called bodgies and widgies? If spoken to by the police, and theatre managers as gentlemen, these youngsters would behave themselves and the police would have no need to hound them down. Magistrates and police should give them fair warning and not manufacture criminals out of them,
Letters to the Editor,
“Naïve” to treat bodgies as gentlemen.
I wonder if
“Justice” (Courier Mail 28 March 1957) is really serious with
his or her suggestion to first treat bodgies as gentlemen. If
so he or she must be very naïve. Since when has it been the
habit of our society to treat somebody as a gentleman before
he has learned to behave as one? Before he is even grown up?
Since when has it been the habit of our society to back down
before troublemakers? I am sure that the police are not
“hounding” them, or trying to “manufacture” criminals, but if
the authorities are not strict now with the bodgies, who to a
great extent are nothing but spoilt children, they will not
have to “manufacture” criminals in the future either. These
children have to be taught to fit themselves into our society,
and that cannot be achieved by handling them with kid gloves;
they would only consider that a sign of weakness.
Ban on Bodgie Haircuts
Some Brisbane High Schools have asked boys to stop wearing bodgie haircuts. The headmaster of a West Brisbane High School yesterday said he had asked boys at parade last week to have “normal schoolboy type haircuts.”
“We have no
bodgie element in the school; in fact we have some very fine
lads among the 505 pupils,” he said.
“But five boys
have let their hair grow in styles approaching the bodgie
fashion. If we do not take steps, the five might set a bad
example,” he said. “I am not ordering all the boys to have
their hair cut the same way. They can wear crew cuts if they
like; as long as the style is clean, and the hair cut up at
the back.” The headmaster said other Brisbane High Schools had
asked boys not to wear bodgie style haircuts.
Bodgie’s Hysteria, 28 hour “rock”
bodgie, 16, had become hysterical after rock ‘n’ rolling for
28 hours and had to be put in the reception house. A probation
officer told the Perth’s Children’s Court yesterday that the
boy, who had slept only three hours from Wednesday to Friday,
was dragged from a rock ‘n’ roll marathon at the Young
Australia League Hall last Friday by his furious parents. His
parents had him charged with being an uncontrollable child.
The Magistrate, Mr. E. B. Arney, severely criticized rock ‘n’
roll marathons and their promoters saying: “This absurd thing
is of no use whatsoever to anybody. The contests are
apparently used by the promoters to make money regardless of
the consequences to youth.” He placed the boy on 12 months
probation and forbade him to attend rock ‘n’ roll concerts.
Rush to See US Band Leaders. Record stars draw
Eleven thousand people packed the Brisbane Stadium last night for two brassy rock and roll editions of the Big Show. A record equaling capacity crowd of over 5,800 jammed the house for the first show. The second show audience, waiting to get in, pulled over Albert and Charlotte Streets, blocking traffic for an hour. The bands of Stan Kenton and Lionel Hampton, and singers Cathy (“Ivory Tower”) Carr, and Guy Mitchell, with Denis Collinson’s band made entrepreneur Lee Gordon’s Record Star Parade not only a big show but a loud show. Only the easy singing Mitchell and patter man Joe Martin rescued the show from the strident and unceasing blare of trumpet, trombone, saxophone and drums. Mitchell is a relaxed artist with a clear pleasant voice. The audience was with him from the start, and he never let them get away. Mitchell brought the house down with “Singing the Blues” and “Heartbreak Hotel.” He ranged from rock and roll to the Burl Ives standby “Truly Fair,” and ended with an old fashioned blues number “T is for Texas.”
Cathy Carr tried, but lost. She is a cute blonde, but
she is better on records. Stan Keaton played many of his well
known numbers but his soloists lacked inspiration. Hampton’s
style last night was different to that usually heard in his
records. He gave a drumming display which had the crowd
roaring, but barely touched the vibrophone. He rocked, rolled
and banged a drum, and the Brisbane “cats” screamed their
welcome. They screamed so loud that the Big Show, originally
designed as a one night stand, will play two shows today at
6.00pm and 8.45pm.
Letters to the Editor
“Haircut Barred Him”
My son is an apprentice in the RAAF, having passed the Junior Examination last year. He had his first leave last week and looked forward to attending a Friday night dance at his former school, the Salisbury State High School, and meeting his old school friends. When he arrived at the dance the principal said he would not be admitted because of his haircut. He told the principal it was a regulation hair cut, and he was ordered not to be cheeky. I am writing this to give the matter some publicity with a view to action being taken by the Education Department to prevent some other young servicemen being humiliated in the wat my son was.
High School principal, Nr. R. Mackie, comments: “The dances
are school dances, not open to the public, and we reserve the
right not to admit anyone we don’t want. There are certain
types of haircut we don’t want at the school and therefore we
don’t want them at the dances.”]
girls, from 7 to 17, dressed in brilliant uniforms, gave
Queensland’s first mass marching girl display at Victoria Park
yesterday. Seven of the 18 teams came from Brisbane; others
are from Stockton, New South Wales, Toowoomba, Lismore and
Maryborough. Guests of honour were the Hamilton City Silver
junior team from New Zealand. Marching girls had been
introduced to New Zealand 12 years ago, derived from the
American drum majorette idea. Numbers of the Nundah Blue
Stars, organised last November, marched for different
charities. They said that marching “felt good. It was good
exercise and good sport.” The girls said that they were
fascinated by the uniforms.
Billy Graham Crusade
New York May 16 (AAP)- People streamed from the balconies and surged down the aisles to the platform at the Madison Square Garden meeting last night when Evangelist Billy Graham called for those who would “make decisions for Christ.” Dr. Graham said after the meeting, the first of a scheduled six week mission in New York: “It was the largest first night response I have ever seen from the pulpit. It was overwhelming. It was beyond anything I had anticipated. Prayer,” he said, “was responsible.”
passed Dr. Graham. Many had lined up for hours for admission.
One hundred police were stationed outside the building, and 80
inside, but the meeting was orderly. The auditorium was draped
with flags and the platform from which Dr. Graham spoke was
banked with flowers. For his sermon, Dr. Graham took his text
from Isaiah 1, 1-20 which includes this passage:
nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers
children that are corrupters. They have forsaken the Lord,
they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are
gone away backwards.”
stabbed his finger at the huge crowd as he said: “The times in
which we live are parallel to the times that Isaiah lived in.”
Elvis Says He’s Really Miserable
New York: Elvis Presley, the highest paid movie star in history, whose income skyrocketed from a few thousand to over a million dollars a year in 30 months, is sometimes “as lonely as hell.” He made this admission to the New York Herald Tribune’s Hollywood correspondent.
“A lot of
times I feel miserable, don’t know which way to turn,” he
said, “I feel if I could go places like everyone else, it
would be OK. I never knew that there was so much money in the
world, that many places to go, or that many people to see. I’m
not complaining about the lack of privacy, although I miss
it.” Elvis rejected the idea that as a teenage idol he could
be “a power for good.”
thought of myself as a symbol and still don’t, and never
thought of using my power in such ways as working for groups
against juvenile delinquency,” he said. “I’ve just been taking
everything as it comes and making the best of it.”
New York: May
17 (AAP)- Dr. Billy Graham told 18,000 people in Madison
Square Garden last night that “New York was crying for
cleansing from its evil.” It was the second night of his
spiritual revival campaign. The audience was 5,500 fewer than
on the first night.
his finger on the trouble in New York when he says that we are
morally sick,” he said.
“I am appalled
when I hear of murders, the rapes, the assaults, and robberies
that are taking place in this city; nearly a million crimes
committed here last year.”
But he said
that what troubled New York troubled the whole human race.
Police are watching a number of city and suburban dance halls and hamburger shops in their efforts to nip juvenile crime in the bud. CIB Chief Inspector Frank Bischof last night blamed these meeting places for juvenile crime.
He said: “These meeting places are often the breeding
grounds for crime. Individually, the youths who gather there
cannot make their mark; but collectively they can gain
notoriety. It is through many of these ‘darings’ that crime is
committed. We will continue moving youths who loiter in gangs.
Inspector Bischof said that several places other than the T and G Corner were recognised meeting places for bodgie type youths.
On Tuesday counsel for a youth on a stealing charge
told the Criminal Court that youths who gathered at the T and
G corner of Albert and Queen Streets, Brisbane, had suggested
to the accused that if he wanted money, he should try breaking
Last night, a bodgie type youth, who boasted of the
number of occasions that he has been moved from the T and G
corner, said “We like to gather at the corner because it is
central. You have four theatres at hand. I’ve been moved from
the corner many times by police, but I just go down the road,
and when police leave, I go back. They haven’t enough men in
the police force to keep a man posted there permanently.”
Attaching bodgie- widgie type dress, Inspector Bischof
said: “There is nothing masculine about the way a bodgie type
youth dresses. The colours and cut of some clothes worn by
them are more suitable for women.” He stamped as “too
provocative” the dress of widgie type Brisbane girls, and
attacked parents for their lack of control over bodgie and
widgie types sons and daughters.
Courier Mail Saturday 25 June 1957
Battles with the Devil
with a Bible packs Madison Square Garden
New York: If the ghost of old Billy Sunday is stalking Madison
Square Garden these days he must be learning a lot about
latter day evangelism.
Gone from the big arena are the gory pugilists, the
grunting wrestlers, the circus clowns, the ice hockey heroes,
the hot dog vendors, and the screaming fans.
In their place is one remarkable man, standing on a
stage against a solid white backdrop of a 1500 voice choir.
Every night since May 15, 1957, he has been packing
about 17,000 people into the Gardens. Nothing less than
Ringling Brothers’ circus has been able to do that.
The tall, broad shouldered athlete under the high
spotlight is BILLY GRAHAM.
If he wasn’t the world’s best known evangelist, he
would not seem out of place as a high priced advertising model
for anything from well cut clothes to toothpaste- or perhaps
in a movie role as a college football star.
Billy isn’t selling suits or toothpaste, but religion.
But Billy himself says that, since he’s selling the greatest
product in the world, why not give it at least as much
promotion as a bar of soap? And that’s what has happened.
The Billy Graham organisation has handled the New York invasion with all the high powered efficiency of a national sales promotion campaign. And it’s running with the smoothness of a well oiled railway system.
It is a far cry from the days of yesteryear, when
evangelists thundering hell-fire and damnation depended
chiefly on lung power and rhetorical fireworks to convert the
hordes of sinners.
About 40 years ago battling Billy Sunday stormed into
New York. In a hastily erected building on upper Broadway, the
small, lithe man pranced and shouted, shadow boxed, and
wrestled o the floor with the Devil, and mesmerized his flock
with fishwifery dramatics. New Yorkers in general he described
in one burst as “vile, iniquitous, lowdown, groveling,
worthless, damnable, rotten, hellish, corrupt, miserable
And all liquor sellers, he said, were “a weasel-eyed,
butter-and-milk, white-livered, whisky-soaked gang.”
The country boy from the cornfields of the Mid-West was
the idol and joke of a whole generation.
He had been a star in the Chicago White Stockings
before he abruptly left baseball to enlist his energies in
At his meetings he always told the story of the country
boy whose downward path began at a “fancy undress ball” when
he met a jezebel with “hair like a raven’s wing, a neck like a
swan, teeth like a ledge of pearl in a snowdrift, wearing just
enough clothing to pad a crutch, who, with difficulty,
persuaded the young man to take his first glass of champagne.”
Billy also introduced a good measure of jingoism. He would yank an American flag out of its holder, and whip it back and forth overhead, shouting, “We are enduring it now for the cause of justice. It has never flown for anything else.”
Then the entire audience of 20,000 would rise with a
roar and launch into “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” as
Billy capered with joy at having won the first skirmish in his
“battle with the Devil” in New York.
Well, there are no more Billy Sundays but the Devil is
apparently still around these parts.
His current antagonist is doing battle but with greater
Billy Sunday used a cannon; Billy Graham uses push
Every 40 years some fierce eyed revivalist storms New
York to brand it the citadel of sin.
It doesn’t happen more often because New York is a name
that strikes fear and trembles into all the most stout hearted
They call this city the “revivalist graveyard,” which
isn’t as contradictory as it sounds.
Many a good missionary has floundered here. Evangelists
steer away from its shores, until they are at the peak of
Whether this is such a Devil ridden city is a debatable
point; it has been pointed out that New York has the highest
percentage of church-goers of any city in the United States.
Broadly two factors do most to keep the evangelists
For one thing, it is hard to be heard over the hurly
burly of all this city’s distractions.
For another the population is 45 per cent Roman
Catholic, and 25 per cent Jewish.
Neither faith has any use for the mass evangelism these
Roman Catholics have been told by spokesmen of their
church not to go to Billy Graham’s meetings. Some of his
preachings, it is said, are heretical.
Jews have been told that the meetings have nothing of
value for them.
Among Protestants, there is not complete unanimity
about Mr. Graham. The critics concentrate on the “emotional
excesses and commercialism” of the Graham crusade, and express
doubts that many people would be permanently “saved.”
But Billy Graham managed to win the cooperation of 1500
local ministers in this crusade.
This points to an important feature of Graham crusades.
He first makes sure that he has a strong body of clergy behind
him before he moves in.
The churches are involved in an integral part of the
Graham evangelical technique: an elaborate follow up system.
The converts who hit what Billy Sunday called “the
sawdust trail to salvation” after each meeting are handled by
a small army of “counselors.”
The converts fill in cards. The information is passed
on to the appropriate churches which are expected to follow up
Of the 300,000 people who had been to Graham’s meetings
in the first two weeks, about 12,000 stepped forward and
“declared themselves for God.”
Ad. Men in Action
Mr. Graham’s preparations went a long way beyond the churches. His organisation used all the promotion techniques of Madison Avenue- hub of the advertising world- in the assault of his toughest proving ground.
The same methods will be sued in Australia if Mr.
Graham goes there- as he hopes to do.
For a year before the crusade began, his organisers set
up office near Times Square and started preparing the ground.
As a result. long before Billy himself arrived, New
York was plastered with posters, the crusade had time spots on
radio and TV, convoys of buses- as well as planes and trains-
to bring adherents from every corner of the country had been
organised, the clergy had been organised, classes for about
5,000 “counsellors” had been organised, the nightly roster of
1500 singers for the choir had been organised, round-the-world
all night prayers for the eve of the opening had been
organised, and funds were pouring in.
Plenty were needed. Cost of the campaign will run into
over a million dollars, plus extras, such as the televising of
a recent Garden meeting, which cost $200,000.
But this was underwritten by Graham’s wealthy backers,
of which he has many.
One Texan has left his chain of supermarkets to help
Graham in New York.
His campaign committee includes men like newspaper
magnate William Randolph Hearst Jnr., and Henry R. Luce,
publisher of Time and Life.
Bank presidents, heads of corporations and business
houses are among the backers.
When the helpers take up the collection in the Garden,
they pass around paper buckets, which are promptly stuffed
with dollar bills. But that isn’t enough to take care of the
Graham himself gets nothing extra for coming to New
York. His organisation pays him a flat $17000 (about £8,800) a
year which is not excessive by local standards.
On the credit side, the Graham crusade has received a
spate of publicity unprecedented here and immeasurable in
terms of dollars.
Almost every local newspaper and national magazine has
run feature stories on Billy Graham.
No other individual apart from his friend President
Eisenhower has had such a concentrated wealth of publicity.
This has helped to make Billy Graham one of the best
known men in the United States.
A recent Gallup Poll showed that 90 per cent of the
population could identify him, an honour accorded few
Americans, other than the nation’s chief executive in
More than four million adults said that they had seen
him in person. About 50 million said they had seen him on TV
or heard him on the radio.
With the great pre-Crusade build up, there was not much
for Billy Graham to do but get up on stage and preach. He does
He has no use for the physical and vocal acrobatics of
Billy Sunday. He is urgent and articulate but not emotional as
A miniature microphone in his lapel, he speaks with a
smooth, driving delivery.
Occasionally he shakes his fists, shouts, or points
heavenward and hellward, but he keeps away from bygone
Even the most misbegotten old sinner would not deny
that he is one of the most dynamic speakers ever to set foot
on a stage.
The soft pedal influence is seen throughout the
meeting. Applause is banned. “If you want to applaud, do it
deep down inside you,” one of his aides tells the
congregation. “Treat this place like a cathedral.”
The whole meeting runs with the precise efficiency of a
TV “spectacular”. The timing of the speeches, the organ music,
the songs, and the silences, is superb.
It seems that Billy Graham prefers to associate himself
with the respected memory of the 19th century
evangelist, Dwight L. Moody, rather than that of Billy Sunday,
who was called by his official biographer “A Gymnast for
The Graham technique is working the “Miracle of Madison
Square Garden.” His seemingly impossible six week run has just
been extended to 21 July (1957) three weeks beyond the
original closing date. And his aides say that there is every
possibility that he will continue battling with the Devil at
“the Garden” until the end of summer.
Roaming gangs of bodgie vandals on Saturday, (13 July
1957) staged three outbreaks of hooliganism on Brisbane
suburban railways. In one incident at Enoggera, they held up a
train for 5 minutes after hurling stones and gravel at crowded
carriages. At Hemmant they overturned seats on the railway
platform and stopped a city bound passenger train by placing
an empty 44 gallon oil drum on the line.
The engine smashed into the drum wrecking its braking
system. A railway union official said last night railwaymen
were becoming concerned at the wave of hooliganism and
vandalism on suburban railways. He said that at Mitchelton on
the Central to Ferny Grove Line, a guard recently held up a
train for 5 minutes as a show of strength against a number of
bodgie passengers who had refused to buy tickets.
The Queensland Railway Guards, Shunters and Conductors
Association Secretary (Mr. W. V. Furness) said that his
Association had already reported instances of bodgie trouble
to the Commissioner. He said bodgies often prevented guards
from doing their duty by boarding trains without tickets and
refusing to pay fares.
The Police Union Secretary (Mr. C. Behm) said that Brisbane’s bodgie problem was of growing concern to the Union. Police were refusing to do special duty at dance halls frequented by bodgies, unless two constables were assigned to the job.
The Enoggera disturbance occurred just before midnight on Saturday last, 13 July 1957, as a train was pulling out of the station on its way to Ferny Grove. A railway officer at Enoggera said that a gang of about 30 bodgie youths had got out of the train when it stopped at the station and then swarmed across the lines hurling stones and gravel at the train as it moved on. Stones rattled against the rear carriage and guard’s van.
The railway officer said that the guard on the train
became concerned and pulled his emergency brake as the train
moved across the Wardell Street level crossing.
Bodgies were reported to have milled around the railway officials as they tried to quell the disturbance.
railway officer said: “ I have never seen such a mob before.
Some of them were shouting; one or two of them were abusive. I
couldn’t grab them or hold them; there were too many of them.
said that the bodgies made off when he told them he was going
to call the police. He has since reported the incident to
police are investigating the Hemmant railway incident which
occurred at 11.29pm last Saturday 13 July 1957. Police said
that a city bound passenger train was stopped when it smashed
into the oil drum on the line. The train was held up while a
replacement engine was brought from Manly. Police found that
seats on Hemmant platform had been overturned.
later police withdrew the attribution of the Hemmant incidents
to bodgies and attributed the incidents to a person since
deceased in a motor vehicle accident]
Courier Mail 15 July 1957
Letters to the Editor
Why Grovely Breeds Bodgies- Nothing Else to do
The writer of the article “I carry a blackjack” (Sunday Mail 14 July 1957) certainly paints a dismal picture of affairs on the Central to Ferny Grove railway line. His description of what goes on is all too true. These things occur, but only in parts of the train by isolated groups. Most of the bodgies to which he refers live at Grovely. Regrettably this is no accident. Geographically Grovely is an ideal suburb, with new houses in a new area, right on the edge of the city, and bordered by bush, but Grovely itself is completely without life after dark. There are absolutely no entertainments and it is this lack of anything to do that has caused the inherent liveliness of young people to find interest and excitement in other less tasteful ways.
The district is in dire need of playing areas for
football, cricket, tennis, and swimming, a picture theatre,
and up to date library. Some of the blame for this rests with
the Brisbane City Council for not making available that area
alongside Kedron Brook for a recreation area when requested to
do so by the local Progress Association on several occasions.
Prevention of future bodgie-ism could be attained by
the introduction of sporting clubs and youth organisations,
arranged by the Churches, Police Citizens, YMCA, Boy Scouts
and similar movements.
For older youths, the intense interest in motor cycles in the district point to the introduction of a branch of a motor cycle club. A bush walking organisation would also find strong support.
It is necessary to give youth something to do to keep
them off the streets, out of milk bars and hamburger joints
where bodgie-ism begins.
playing “chicken” on isolated roads and endangering the lives of passing motorists;
mauling teenage girls;
pelting trams and buses with tomatoes;
holding drink and sex orgies.
Police say that the teenage hoodlums are fast becoming
Sydney’s No 1 headache. Bodgie packs are terrorizing young
children playing in city parks. This week the pack threw a
seven year old girl into Sydney Harbour. A passer by dived in
fully clothed and rescued her. One bodgie gang recently stole
12 cars and trucks. Their leader was jailed for three years.
Melbourne: A special police bicycle patrol operating at night had cut down sharply the bodgie widgie menace in Melbourne, the Victorian Chief Secretary (Mr. Rylah) said last night. Mr. Rylah said that it was also proposed to increase the number of police on normal night beat work to keep bodgies in check. Police on bicycles regularly visited known bodgie haunts and warned youths about their behaviour.
Courier Mail Tuesday 16 July 1957
Hoodlums on Trains
A general election (Labour Premier Vince Gair had just lost Government consequent upon the split of labour into the QLP and ALP) is no excuse for letting packs of teenage hoodlums run riot on Brisbane’s suburban railways or anywhere else.
Ministers may be too busy electioneering to attend to the duties of their office. Over the weekend no one seemed to know which Minister was carrying responsibility for the States’ police administration, not even the Minister who normally has that charge. But the Police Commissioner has, or should have, sufficient authority and initiative to deal with “bodgies” who attack railway property and terrorise railway employees and unoffending passengers. He should not have to wait for direction and instructions from the Minister. What happened last weekend on the Ferny Grove line to Brisbane repeated on a bigger scale hooliganism that has gone unchecked for many weeks. The public wants an answer to these questions. What action has been taken by police to supply this obvious need. A few vigilant plain clothes police put on trains mostly used by suburban hoodlums for making their weekend excursions to and from the city would soon be able to break up their gangs by making quick arrests for disorderly conduct or refusing to pay fares. More police might be rostered for night duty at the weekends. The cost of better police protection must be paid if the cult of “bodgie” lawlessness is to be stamped out before it leads to more serious crime. Organisations interested in the welfare of youths can help. Many young people would not crowd into the city every weekend looking for entertainment if life in their own suburbs offered them more interests and entertainment where they have no playing fields or social clubs they are tempted to form themselves into gangs or pushes. But those are not reasons for treating them leniently when they take to violence and vandalism.
bodgie pack on train”
Two months ago on the 7.5pm Ferny Grove City train, two youths, after much lurid language, punched a boy until he bled. I intervened when a third member of the pack was about to punch the boy. The hoodlums resented my “interference,” adopted a menacing attitude, threatened me, and invited me to meet them on the last carriage. Apparently he was afraid to report the attack. This fear is apparently the reason why these “packs” can continue so successfully. When my son was recently attacked by a different pack he was warned against notifying the police. Grovely is a new suburb and populated by many decent law abiding citizens and their families. Since it has been developed by the State Housing Commission, it has a big youth problem. I consider a youth centre an absolute must. Teenage boys and girls congregate in their leisure hours around hamburger “joints” or cafes at night. At weekends they gather around the outskirts of the suburb or creek banks, or play “chicken” on the main Samford Road with passing motorists. Most of their actions appear to be done to relieve boredom. Their clothes and general behaviour are a form of exhibitionism, possibly resulting from inadequate home training. Any money or effort spent in building and maintaining a youth centre would pay dividends in building decent citizens.
Criminal Court last Wednesday Mr. Justice Philp sentenced
Brian Denis Anderson, 17, of Hogan Street, Grovely to a year’s
hard labour for assaulting James Richard Malcolm, 18, student,
of Pearse Street, Grovely, on a train on June 7, 1957, causing
him bodily harm. Ed.]
Drastic action is called
for to deal with the bodgie cult. If numerically, the Police
Force is inadequate to undertake the task, or its personnel
are prevented by higher authority, or are afraid to attempt to
remove this scum from our midst, then it is time that the
power to handle the situation was delegated to people to do
the policeman’s job for him. Give me a dozen men with similar
views to those I hold on the subject, give us the sanction of
the law, and I am prepared to start a crusade that will put
the fear of God into any party of louts we find disturbing the
peace. In one month, with or without blackjacks, we would have
the dingo packs broken up completely. Doubts were expressed in
the Press recently on being able to find one man in Brisbane
willing to take on the position of Public Whipper to cope with
the menace. I am prepared to act in this capacity in full view
of the public, without charge, and with all the physical force
that I can muster.
The YMCA of Brisbane
aggress with the views expressed by Grovely Resident (Courier
Mail 16 July 1957) on bodgie-ism.
The YMCA is willing to form a youth club in the Grovely
area but additional leaders and finance will be required.
We hope to meet the shortage of youth leaders both in
our own and other youth organisations as a result of the Basic
Youth Leadership classes to be held at the YMCA, but public
financial support will be required.
This Association receives no Government grant. A youth
club will need a hall and equipment, and possibly a part time
Secretary. Should the residents of Grovely and adjoining
districts be interested in forming such a club we should be
happy to depute a representative of our organisation to meet
and help them.
The Railway Department and Police yesterday promised
early action to stamp out a wave of bodgie larrikinism on
Brisbane suburban trains. Special detectives and railway
inspectors will travel on the trains at night. But further
details of the “anti-bodgie” plans are being kept secret.
Police and railway inspectors will probably concentrate on
trains leaving the city after hotels close at 10pm and after
the last theatre session. A special watch will be kept during
nights when there have been jazz concerts or performances by
visiting American entertainers. Senior police last night said
it would be impossible for plainclothes men to travel on every
suburban train at night. They said that delinquents had to be
caught making a disturbance before action could be taken. But
many bodgie leaders made it their business to know detectives
by sight and behaved perfectly if they suspected that a
policeman was on the train. The Police Commissioner (Mr.
Harold) said yesterday that a special campaign was being
planned to deal with travelling hooligans. Criminal
Investigation Branch chief (Mr. F. E. Bischof) said recent
reports of hooliganism among youths on suburban trains were
receiving close attention. Detectives recently had travelled
on night trains to Ferny Grove and other routes. Other
detectives in recent months had ridden on bus routes to two
bayside resorts following complaints of wild behaviour by
Thursday 18 July 1957
Stockwhip tamed Push”
Much as been written and said lately of the bodgie
element in our midst. I would like to add my voice to the many
who have been raising their voices when they should have been
raising their hands and lowering them swiftly where it would
have done the most good. During and after the Depression I was
a member of a larrikin push. At night my parents being under
the impression I was at a friends place; we used to congregate
at street corners and talk, and for a diversion, invade the
domain of another push and clean them up. A certain policeman
was posted to our district. From that day forward, we became a
bunch of neurotics. Mounted on a horse and armed with a
stockwhip, he ranged far and wide using boot and whip to such
an extent that the sound of the horses’ hooves was sufficient
to cause the whole bunch of us to take off like a flock of
pigeons. There’s your answer to the bodgies of today. We were
pretty tough, and not an effeminate bunch of half-men like
today’s bodgies, and yet we were tamed and brought to heel.
Foot and mounted policeman on one push bike with orders to use
the toe of the boot on their backside, and see how the problem
Thursday 18 July 1957
Granted that a serious situation does exist in this
matter of juvenile delinquency, for which the “Bodgie Cult”
seems to bear the brunt of the blame, surely any sane approach
to the problem must be made without violence, and with some
attempt at understanding these people. L. R. Munro (Courier
Mail 17 July 1957) and others like him want to combat violence
with more violence. What about going to those people on their
own ground, speaking their language, and listening to them for
a change? Mr. Munro’s way can only lead to bloodshed.
Thursday 18 July 1957
Splendid, Mr. Munro (Courier Mail 17 July 1957). Give whipping an undisciplined trial for six months.
Thursday 18 July 1957
Hazel Smith (Courier Mail 12 July 1957) says that crime is a disease. That is true only where a person is mentally sick. Is the mass murder that we call war a disease too? Talk about using the lash on juvenile delinquents is nauseating, especially when there are crime films, crime comics, and radio sessions whose themes are based on murder, and the rest of the vile rubbish. More playing fields and youth clubs are needed.
Thursday 18 July 1957
Letters to the Editor
We have been plagued with “annoyance” telephone calls,
late at night, and especially weekends. If the receiver is
taken up, the howler would be put through immediately. We now
have a new “annoyance.” A “chicken” horn blown at our gate by
four louts and a Chinese boy. On investigating they ride away
screaming out insults and “chicken.”
Noel Turnbull- Staff Reporter
clubs the answer to the bodgie menace? Their organisers think
so. These clubs are doing a good job in some Brisbane suburbs,
but in many districts like Grovely, the community spirit has
not been strong enough to produce them yet. So what are they
doing in Brisbane suburbs?
Scattered around Brisbane small groups of public
spirited men are accepting the challenge of the bodgie cult-
to turn the energy and enthusiasm of youth into worthwhile
channels. They are fighting at its source the menace that is
turning decent lads into vandals and hooligans. They are the
men behind the suburban youth clubs that have sprung up,
particularly in the last six months.
Through these clubs they are giving boys, and, in the
larger clubs, girls too, an active interest, which keeps them
off the streets- the danger zone.
Three clubs have actually recruited members from among
bodgies in milk bars and on the streets. The need for these
clubs is emphasized by the large number of youngsters seeking
membership of the Young Men’s Christian Association and the
Police Citizens’ Youth Clubs at Lang Park and Woolloongabba.
All have waiting lists. Some clubs are small- not because
young people are standoffish but because the organisers are
short of adult support. The club’s big needs are money and
leaders. Public support would provide both.
Take the Zillmere Athletic and Boxing Club, an example
of a keen young club with little finance, but enthusiastic
supporters. Officially it began about 3 months ago. Before
that the organiser, 39 year old wood machinist Tommy Smith,
had been coaching a few boys at boxing in the kitchen of his
home. When the number got to about 18, Tommy says that his
wife put a stop to it in the house, so the club was formed.
All the initial equipment was bought by Tommy himself and now
the boys’ fathers are building a small gymnasium in Tommy’s
backyard. The number of members has grown to about 40 and they
meet five nights a week in the backyard under floodlights.
Tommy is really proud of his boys. One of them, 18 year
old German lad, Roland Herburg, has been selected in a
Brisbane team to attend a boxing tournament in Mackay next
At Wynnum, Rotary, Lions, and Apex Clubs have taken up
the matter of a youth club and have organised functions to
provide finance. They have close to £700 now. A Wynnum
accountant, Mr. J. W. McMaster, says that the committee at
present organising the club hopes to build a club house, open
at all times to the boys of the district.
Out at Brookfield, a solid little club is slowly
getting under way. It was started by Mr. J. Birkett in
February after another he had formed at Indooroopilly failed.
It now has about 50 members and meets three nights a week.
Chermside Club started by Valley policeman Les Sampson,
has 400 members. It began 18 months ago as a football team.
The club has more than £200 worth of equipment, but as yet no
headquarters. It is trying to obtain a lease of Annand Park
from the Brisbane City Council to build a club and other
Youngest club, Bardon, just four weeks old already has
140 members. It was formed by the Bardon RSL and meets two
nights a week in the Memorial Hall. President Ian Mathams says
that the club has a policy that all groups will be mixed. They
consider that having groups for boys and others fro girls
makes teenagers lose interest.
The 40 members of the Kedron Boys’ Boxing Club have a proud record- of 300 fights the boys have had at tournaments, they have won 175. The club was formed in a garage 18 months ago. It now has a gym of its own. A former club member Don Starr was a State amateur title holder.
The two most progressive clubs in Brisbane are at Inala and Nundah, both formerly notorious bodgie hangouts. In 2 years the Inala Club has grown from 17 members at its initial meeting to more than 600 now. It began at a time when Inala’s youngsters had a bad name for vandalism. The club now has both boys and girls as members. Its activities cover all manner of sport and drama and discussion groups. The club plans a special club hall costing about £15000 to £20,000. It will contain modern gymnastic equipment, an up to date library, swimming pool, and playing room.
The Nundah Club is the largest and oldest of all. It
has branches at Hendra, Kedron, Banyo, and Northgate, as well
as the original club at Nundah. All told there are about 1900
on the membership roll. It was started about 10 years ago by
Norm Yuill, a totally and permanently incapacitated
ex-serviceman as a hobby to fill in time. Norm was seriously
injured during the war in Dutch New Guinea. He has been
steadily building up the club and its many branches. He is now
working on a plan to open at Stafford. He also plans to get a
club moving at Sandgate. Each branch has several individual
clubs, for different age groups and activities, which meet on
different nights of the week.
Churches battle at Grovely”
Letters stressing Grovely’s lack of facilities for its youth have omitted to mention what has and is being done by the Boy Scouts Association and church bodies. Commissioner Jackson last Saturday week opened a hut in Baker Road. This was the result of three years hard effort by a numerically small but keen committee, aided by city and local business firms, but with negligible cooperation from the boys’ parents. Two Sunday Schools have been held now for several years in private homes or in the open air, while the sponsors are struggling to build churches. The Progress Association has been balked for years because out of all the nearby vacant ground not a single acre could be taken over by it. The Housing Commission in a rather hypocritical statement said that owing to the acute shortage of building materials a few years ago, none could be spared for halls and such like, and it would be the responsibility of residents to erect them. Such logic at the time was accepted but when bodies I have mentioned above applied for land to build their own hall or church none was available. Since then rubbish dumps are appearing where public buildings could have been and Grovely youth are reaping a harvest of scorn and ridicule.
N. A. F.
Brisbane’s 800 metropolitan police were told this week to wipe out all forms of bodgie lawbreaking.
Police officers consider that district police, not
roving patrols, are best capable of checking the bodgie cult
at its source. The force will use “no quarter” tactics if
necessary. Metropolitan police, knowing their own district,
will be able to check out bodgies most closely. This week they
began meeting late night trains at suburban stations and
terminuses. They will be ready to pounce following any reports
of lawlessness on trains. Bodgie “hangouts” hamburger stalls,
cafes, dance halls, and street corners, will receive special
and regular attention.
Bodgies and their ways have been in the news all this week. Some of them are public nuisances, using violence and drifting into crime. But the fault is primarily the whole community’s. We have failed to give them something better to do, and the means to do it.
£5 fine on
Toowoomba: “You are one of a bunch of half baked bodgie exhibitionists,” Mr. D. J. Kearney, SM., told Stewart Jeffries, 18, of Lydwin Street, in the Petty Sessions Court in Toowoomba yesterday. “If you characters think that you are going to take control of Ruthven Street on Sunday afternoons, you are badly mistaken. We have cleaned up bigger gangs than yours in the past and the police will have no trouble in dealing with you,” he said. Mr. Kearney fined Jeffries £5, in default 28 days jail, on a charge of having driven a motor cycle with a pillion rider while not being the holder of a licence for one year.
16 asks why baby bodgies?
Juvenile outlawry emanates from the school playground. The smashing of school furniture lately seems to have been copied from films depicting jail rioting. To call bodgies and car wreckers, who may be 16, 17, or 18 years of age, “juvenile” seems absurd to me. I enlisted as a British soldier at 16, and was doing Buckingham Palace and Tower guard duty at 17. Offending bodgies should be given stiff terms at a special place of correction. There should also be special plain clothes police to deal with the rowdy element. On a recent journey from South Brisbane to Kuraby, I took large lumps of coal from a rough gang of schoolboys who were sadistically enjoying throwing them at the track maintenance men they passed.
Frank H. Cole,
adults are partly to blame for the behaviour of the bodgie
element. There is a lack of sports areas, and youth
organisations and the adults have been disinterested in the
welfare of the younger people. Since the war unscrupulous
people have found it profitable to exploit teenagers. It is
the public that allows the importation and publication of
cheap, shocking films, over suggestive songs, trashy comics,
and obscene magazines. Film and censorship boards are
farcical. Look at any magazine stand. Go to any cinema with an
adults only programme. Most bodgies and widgies are by the
standards of many countries uneducated. It takes more than
parental control and organised sport to make intelligent and
discerning beings. Our antiquated educational system is at the
root of many a trouble. There are not enough schools and
interested teachers. Education should be entirely free and
compulsory until 16 at least.
Our very efficient police force is hopelessly inadequate to combat successfully the ever-growing bodgie menace. It is obvious that the police cannot hope to attract enough recruits locally, so why not establish a migration scheme to bring to Queensland at least 1000 young men from the United Kingdom and Ireland to bolster our force.
I am a Briton, born and bred in Egypt. When I came here 10 years ago, I was shocked to see how children are spoiled in this country. Toys are waiting for them before they are born, and as they grow older, they have all kinds of sports, swimming pools, bicycles, lollies, icecreams, cinemas.
At 14 they expect their parents to buy them a motor
scooter or a motor cycle, at 16 or 18 a car etc. When they
reach their teens they are already blasé. They turn to sadism,
crime and sex orgies. I do not approve of Hitlerism or
fascism, but they had one good thing in wiping out teenage
delinquency – the army which employed recruits on public
works. Jails, reform schools, whipping, will leave a stigma
for delinquents, entertainments will make them worse. Hard
work is the only workable solution.
46 Oxley Drive,
There is obviously a close relation between the cult of jive (or rock ‘n’ roll) and the present wave of juvenile delinquency. In watching the rockers, one is struck by the stark primitive savagery of the devotees mesmerized by erotic rhythm.
The solution is in the eradication of the cult by the
whole of the civilized community. Parents should reason with
the juveniles; if that is ineffective, they should attck the
savage mystic force with a weighty belt. Let boys and girls
dance by all means. I would appeal to dance promoters and band
leaders: Leave out the “deep down beat-up stuff” that ruffles
the emotions of the kids; give them the clean happy four to
the bar. A happy kid is a good kid.
A teenage bodgie who police said had worked only three days this year, was jailed yesterday for six weeks with hard labour. Mr. Fowler, SM, told Trevor William Bostock, 17, unemployed, that this jail sentence might help him mend his ways. Bostock, who pleaded guilty in the Police Court to a vagrancy charge- having insufficient lawful means of support- had told Mr. Fowler that he would like to settle down with his parents.
The magistrate told him that police had given him many
opportunities. It was too late now. It was the first case of a
“bodgie” being jailed for vagrancy since the all out police
drive on them began. Detective Sub Inspector Donovan
(prosecutor) said that Bostock first came under the notice of
the Criminal Investigation Branch a year ago because of his
association with the “bodgie” element about city streets.
Detectives had warned him to get a job and cease
spending his time in hotels.
At 11.30am on Monday, Detective Sergeant F. D. Gorman
and Detective J. J. O’Connor located him in a city hotel
drinking with others unfavourably known to the police. Their
inquiries showed that he had worked only three days this year.
He had been existing on handouts from his widowed mother and
married sister. His mother had to get casual work to
supplement her widow’s pension. The prosecutor said that
Bostock’s mother was unable to persuade him to get a job and
he seemed content to live a life of idleness with his “bodgie”
associates. Bostock’s mother wept in court when her son was
taken to the Watchhouse cells to await the prison van to take
him to Boggo Road jail.
Circus will pen in Musgrave Park on 1 August 1957.
The Lord Mayor, Alderman Groom, in a bid to outwit bodgie lawlessness, proposes a big public meeting in the City Hall, and suburban meetings to promote interest in youth movements.
These meetings are expected to result from the special
meeting he has called for tonight in the City Hall of
organisations interested in youth. He believes that juvenile
delinquency can be curbed by strong public backing of youth
clubs and youth organisations.
“We want to create for youth an atmosphere in which the
bodgie will not flourish,” Alderman Groom said yesterday. He
has the backing of the police. Response to his invitations to
tonight’s meeting has been enthusiastic. Alderman Groom said
yes his aim in calling the meeting was to discuss how to
increase public interest in youth work. The Police
Commissioner (Mr. Harold) and the Chief of the Brisbane
Criminal Investigation Branch (Inspector Bischof) will attend.
Organisations represented would include church youth
organisations, Police and Citizens’ Welfare Association, Young
Men’s Christian Association, Young Women’s Christian
Association, Boy Scouts Association, Girl Guides Association,
Playground Association, National Fitness Council, and Rotary
and Apex Clubs.
Alderman Groom said that tonight’s meeting would
consider holding a big public meeting in the City Hall concert
hall of parents and others interested in the welfare of youth.
This would emphasise to the public the importance of
satisfactory youth clubs, well equipped in leadership, space
and materials. In these clubs there would be no lack of
worthwhile activity to keep a youth occupied. Alderman Groom
said that it was likely that the big meeting would be followed
by others in suburbs where the need for greater support for
youth clubs work was realised.
Meanwhile Brisbane police claim that their “get tough”
policy with bodgies is showing results.
Criminal Investigation Branch Chief (Inspector Frank
Bischof) said yesterday that several known bodgies had called
on him to tell him that they had broken their association with
the bodgie cult. Inspector Bischof said that the change of
heart was mainly due to police action and the recent jail
sentences imposed on bodgies and their associates in Brisbane
Two bodgies and a girl, who was said to have associated
with bodgies, have received jail sentences in the last
fortnight in Brisbane.
One bodgie who attacked a schoolboy on a Brisbane train
was sent to jail
for a year and another received a six weeks sentence because
he refused to work.
Yesterday an 18 year old girl was sentenced to six
weeks jail for vagrancy. Police said that she was associating
with bodgies when she was arrested.
Inspector Bischof said that there had been a noticeable
reduction in the number of bodgies congregating on street
corners and in milk bars in Brisbane.
Meeting Plans Ahead to meet Youth Problem
A public meeting of parents and others interested in
the development and improvement of youth welfare organisations
in Brisbane will be held at the City Hall on Monday the 5th
This was decided at a meeting of representatives of
youth organisations called by the Lord Mayor (Alderman Groom)
Alderman Groom had called the meeting because of the
growing bodgie menace in Brisbane. The meeting elected a
committee of seven to organise the public meeting.
Youth leaders, including an internationally known
athlete, will speak on youth activities and their importance.
said last night: “The meeting will emphasize the need for
leadership in youth activity, the need for good men and women
trained for their job. The job of youth clubs is not merely to
eliminate bodgie-ism, but to ensure that the greater number of
our youth has the chance to become good citizens.
Courier Mail Monday 29 July 1957
Bodgie Threat Beaten
Street corner and milk bar congregations of Brisbane bodgies and widgies are disappearing. The Police Commissioner (Mr. T. W. Harold) said last night that this was “the dividend of a firm but fatherly approach by police to Brisbane’s bodgies.”
up to these young people, gave them a talking to, and in most
cases received cooperation,” Mr. Harold said.
blitz on bodgies began 10 days ago following a flood of public
complaints about bodgie viciousness.
said last night that policemen had not taken any drastic
action and made only two arrests- both for failure to observe
a reasonable police direction in regard to pedestrian traffic.
He said that police had been instructed to adopt the role of
“I am quite
satisfied now that having taken that line of action, no one
will be worried by bodgies for a long time,” Mr. Harold said.
“We were caught unawares but we have the matter in hand now.”
said that police would continue their vigilance. Mr. Harold
said that during the blitz, uniformed police had made frequent
checks on hotel bars and had virtually rid the city of teenage
drinking. Train larrikinism had also been virtually stamped
Courier Mail Tuesday 30 July 1957
Letters to the Editor
Policeman’s Act Shock
I was greatly shocked to read (Courier Mail 27July 1957) that one of the contestants in the Yul Brynner competition was a Roma Street police constable. This is a type of exhibitionism and almost a degrading experience. It is not to be expected from a member of the police force who surely should set some standard of decorum and behaviour to our youth.
bodgie-ism is, in great part, exhibitionism in clothing, and
hair styles, and behaviour, and I am sure that a policeman
with a “shaved” head (for the reward of £10 and a razor) would
not command much respect. We parents and sane citizens expect
the Police Chiefs to instruct young constables not to take
part in such displays of foolishness, and this does not mean
that they are disciplinarians without a sense of humour.
“Dances as a
“Blame Rock” (Courier Mail 24 July 1957) gives one of the reasons which force young people to frequent cafes and milk bars. If young people can’t jive or dance, as they please, under suitable supervision, in halls, at school and church dances, then where are they to go? They go to cafes and milk bars where they can hear the music they like from juke boxes. Perhaps it wasn’t so long ago that many of the self styled judges of teenage behaviour used to Charleston and “go to town” themselves. If elder people listened to modern music with an ear to pleasure rather than criticism, they might find that all this “stark primitive savagery” is rather over-exaggerated.
“Report back with your hair cut and dressed respectably” is the latest police move in civilising Brisbane’s bodgies.
In past weeks, several bodgies detained by police have
been given 24 hours to become respectable. Last week, a group
of bodgies- all under 21- were detained and questioned by
police after they created a disturbance in a suburban hotel.
Their names and addresses were taken. They were given 24 hours
to have their hair cut and dress decently. Next day they
reported back to the police station with hair cuts and decent
Police, both uniformed and plain clothes, are
continuing their drive in city and suburban hotels cleaning
out teenage drinkers. The drive is proving effective.
“Bodgies on the Beaches”
With the approach of warmer weather, Sandgate and Shorncliffe can expect to suffer from the influx of bodgies , widgies, and hooligans, who will again clutter our beaches. In the past, regular police patrols have kept this menace under control, but apparently have now been discontinued. The gathering clans of youths around picture shows and the beach fronts and the increase in vandalism and destruction of trees, testify to their appreciation of relaxed police action. Sandgate, more than any other Brisbane suburb, needs police patrols because its beaches and wooded foreshores attract others as well as its own lawless elements.
Start of Bodgie Drive
A public meeting in the City Hall tonight would consider just how serious the bodgie trouble was in Brisbane, the Lord Mayor Alderman Groom, said last night. The meeting, which begins at 8pm, was called by a committee of youth leaders headed by Alderman Groom.
Alderman Groom said that the youngsters concerned were
not a vicious and depraved section of the community that could
be cured only with a stock whip. There may be a few among them
like that, but the police can be relied upon to deal with
them,” he said. “We are concerned about the ones who are
leaving school to find that they have a great deal of leisure
and no idea what to do with it.”
The question of delinquent youth in Brisbane was not as serious as might have been thought, the Lord Mayor (Alderman Groom) said last night. But there was a grave need for steps to be taken to ensure that it did not become a serious matter, he said.
Alderman Groom was addressing a meeting which he
convened in the City Hall to discuss means of combating
juvenile delinquency. More than 600 people attended the
meeting. Alderman Groom said that there had been “some
semi-hysterical” discussion about the need for stock whips and
the resurrection of the stocks. “It is obvious to a great many
people that this is a rather foolish summation of the
situation,” he said. “Really I think that the youth of this
city are a bit of an improvement on what our parents were at
the time I was a youth. But we have deprived the youth of
today of the things we had- the open paddocks, the creeks, the
flat open patches of land where we could play cricket, or
football. This problem cannot be tackled in wishy washy
fashion. It is the job for the families.”
Broadbeach: Segregation of bodgies and widgies in theatres was urged yesterday at the Queensland Motion Pictures Exhibitors Convention. Suggestions to stop larrikinism in theatres were advanced by Cairns delegate, Mr. W. Moloney. “In Cairns and other North Queensland towns, we have practically stamped out in theatres unruly behaviour by the bodgies and widgie elements,” he said. “We have found that the best plan is to segregate them- not put them in stalls in a group, but close to an exit and under the eye of a door keeper. And the effective way to break up gangs is to ban some of the ringleaders for short periods. Since we did this, there has been a marked improvement in their behaviour.”
“Sport Would Help Stamp Out Bodgies”
More swimming pools, playing fields, and cultural facilities would go a long way towards controlling the bodgie menace, the Commonwealth Health Director in Queensland (Dr. D. A. Dowling) said yesterday.
“We have to ensure that young people are given plenty
to occupy their minds,” he said.
Dr. Dowling was addressing the Health Inspectors
Association Conference on the value of physical education.
`”These bodgies are nothing new,” he said. “We had the
larrikin pushes 50 or more years ago. Activities of these
present day youths are very similar. Apart from police action
there was probably nothing much that could be done with those
in whom ‘bodgie-ism’ had become established. However, there
was a great field open for preventative measures in the way of
outdoor exercise for youths.”
Dr. Dowling said that swimming pools throughout the
State particularly in Brisbane, were grossly inadequate.
“Brisbane had not had a new pool for 30 years.”
“I Did Not Hear a Solution
By a Teenager
Last night I attended the public meeting in the City Hall on the juvenile delinquency problem in Brisbane.
Despite many suggestions by the seven speakers, I did
not hear one concrete proposal given by any speaker that would
make me wish to join a youth organisation. I gained three main
impressions from last nights meeting:
That finances for all youth organisations were in a
That youth organisations had a grave shortage of
That parents were not supporting the existing youth
organisations as they should be doing.
The problem of
actually attracting me as a teenager to such organisations
therefore was very great. I now realise that if I did become a
member of some club, I would spend a lot of my leisure time
working hard to keep the club running, I also realised that
even with all the leaders available in Brisbane, I would not
necessarily keep “on the rails”. Lastly if my parents were not
interested enough to support my club, then I may as well get
out of it. This last problem was given a great deal of
attention by most speakers.
Monday 5 August 1957
Lady Cilento, prominent Queensland doctor and social worker, has warned that one cause of today’s juvenile delinquency was the prevalence of working mothers.
Friday 9 August 1957
Weapons of bodgies on show at the Police Display at the RNA Show this year, confiscated from Brisbane bodgies, are among exhibits of articles recovered by police at the scenes of notorious Queensland crimes. The bodgies weapons on display include a spring loaded knife and home made stilettos and knuckle dusters.
Wednesday 14 August 1957
Sales of Goods They Stole
Bodgies from Chermside had been stealing clothing in city and suburban stores and holding “bargain sales” among themselves, the Police Court was told yesterday. They had stolen clothes and “swapped” them for motor cycle parts, the Court was told. Six youths, described as “members of the Chermside bodgie element,” pleaded guilty to charges of stealing, or of receiving stolen good.
Inspector Donovan said: “Police have established that the
larrikin element at Chermside had been stealing from the
Chermside DriveIn and from city stores and then holding
bargain sales at Chermside and selling the goods to each
other. One bodgie had not worked for several months and had
been living on money given to him by his widowed mother and by
widgies with whom he associated.
Poultrymen said yesterday that bodgies were endangering prize poultry exhibits at the Brisbane RNA Show.
Attendants in the poultry section have declared war on
the bodgies. Yesterday they took up positions at vantage
points in the Poultry Pavilion to watch for bodgies.
This followed raids by bodgies on cages occupied by
some prize poultry exhibits.
They said that bodgies had opened the cages and taken
out newly laid eggs, and pocketed them.
“They have given us a lot of trouble with only a few
hundred people here,” one attendant said, “so tomorrow
(People’s Day) they will be here in droves. We’ll need a
couple of policemen.”
He said that four bodgies were caught stealing eggs from the cages on Monday. Attendants were on the alert yesterday and trapped others. The attendants said that when they caught bodgies with eggs in their pockets, they slapped their pockets or bumped them “to teach them a lesson.”
A bodgie caught with his hand in a cage yesterday was
“run out” of the Poultry Pavilion.
Attendants were placed at the entrance to the Poultry
Pavilion all day and also mixed with the crowds inside. They
screened all visitors and “trailed” all youths dressed in
Moral Needs of Bodgies
An Anglican Church committee has criticized as “inadequate” some of the solutions being offered to meet Brisbane’s bodgie problem. Their report said that playing fields and youth clubs are good, but by themselves they cannot meet the real need. At bottom the problem is a spiritual and moral one, and often goes back to the lack of positive religion in the home.
The report said that a sharp distinction had to be
drawn between “really criminal bodgies and the much larger
number of young people who imitate the bodgie style of dress,
but who in no sense are to be regarded as criminal.”
The report called on church people to come forward to
provide the right sort of leadership for church youth
organisations. It agreed that the lack of effective Christian
leadership was hindering youth organisations from doing really
At the Regent
in town, James Dean was starring in “Rebel Without a Cause”
Clubs “not full answer” to bodgies
Youth clubs were not the complete answer to the bodgie
and widgie problem, a British Youth Welfare Worker claimed in
Brisbane last night.
She is Miss Elisabeth Garling, who is near the end of a
12 months bursary funded study tour of Australian Youth
Miss Garling said that she did not think that youth
clubs could help the “really bad members of the cult.”
“They are a much greater social and psychological
problem than that. But with many bodgies and widgies it was
merely a matter of ‘sharp dressing.’ Well organised Youth
clubs could assist by providing them with an outlet for
Traffic Police on Bodgie Patrol
Traffic police were doing plain clothes patrol duty in main city streets to clean up bodgie motor cyclists, the Police Prosecutor told the Traffic Court yesterday. They were clamping down on bodgies on a “technicality,” failure to park their motor cycles parallel to the kerb.
Two youths described as “bodgie” were each fined £3 in
default seven days jail for wrongly parking their motor
Senior Sergeant Spada said that plain clothes traffic police patrolled Queen Street because of the youth’s behaviour. He said that the youths went around “like a pack of dingoes” and rode up and down the street making a nuisance of themselves. They parked their motor cycles “just anyhow.”
A 14 year old Sydney school who eloped to Brisbane with her 17 year old boyfriend, yesterday described her bodgie dressed boyfriend as “just a sheep in wolf’s clothing.
The couple told the police that they ran away on the
spur of the moment and out of a spirit of adventure.
Margaret Dye, dressed in a tight knit skirt and a
jumper, looked at her drape coated escort, Robert Hawkins, 17,
and said: “We don’t think that we are a bodgie and a widgie
although other people do. All the young people dress like this
Margaret was due to be returned to her parents in Sydney by the police.
Mail Wednesday 15 January 1958
A Brisbane disc jockey said last night he would smash his Elvis Presley records. He is Alex Shiren of the Courier Mail station 4BK. The disc jockey said he would follow the lead of an American radio station KWK, in St. Louis, which is staging a revolt against rock ‘n’ roll. The US station is playing each “rock” record from its library once, then breaking it with a sharp snap audible to listeners. Shiren said: “This is a good one. I am heartily sick of my Elvis Presley discs- I’ll play them and break them next Saturday night in ‘Party Time’.
The manager of 4BH (Mr. C. Carson) said yesterday
that rock ‘n’ roll was on its way out in Brisbane. Our station
cancelled a Tuesday night session which was mainly this music
because we thought it was beginning to affront a lot of
adults. “Only a rowdy, noisy minority mainly teenagers,
clamour for it now,” Mr. Carson said.
The 4BK Studio Manager (Mr. D. Magoffin) said: “I
can’t stand rock ‘n’ roll. But we’ve got to be tolerant.
There’s always a current teenager craze in music- the
Charleston, jazz, swing, and now rock ‘n’ roll. I’d give it
another six months.”
Mail Thursday 16 January 1958
“R. G. Jenkins (Courier Mail 14 January 1958) as well
as many others, has just gone too far in expressing his
dislike for rock ‘n’ roll music. This time it is ‘Diana’ by
Paul Anka. It seems that the latest craze with some “grown
ups” is to write to the papers every time they hear a new rock
‘n’ roll song. Yet, I never hear them grumbling about the
tripe “sung” by Sinatra and co., which is enough to send
anyone crazy. If. P. G. Jenkins does not like ‘Diana,’ then
why listen to it. There are other radio stations to listen
Noel Williams, 1 Lamrock Street, Holland Park.
“Why play the rubbish.
Rock ‘n’ roll has rhyme but no reason. These simple
tunes often romp along with catchy beat and cadence, but their
rhythms are as primitive as any fundamental actions, and very
often, just as vulgar. The lyrics of these musical nursery
rhymes are without syntax or prose. However, rock 'n' roll and
all other forms of bodgie music have their own noisy
following. However, for disc jockeys to object publicly to
those offending rhythms and their rude exponents is mere
exhibitionism. Better not to play those offending trifles when
there is so much else wholesome in the world of song.”
Terence Lambert. 54 Denman Street, Greenslopes.